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Changing the SL notation from "Face" to "Surface" ?


Gaia Clary
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"Face" seems to be a defined word in 3D modelling ( See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygon_mesh for example). The SL notation of "Face" differs. I would like to propose an official  renaming of "Face" to "Surface".

Then we could describe building units in SL more precise as follows:

 

  • A Prim can have up to 6 individual contiguous Surfaces
  • A Sculpty always has 1 single contiguous Surface
  • A mesh can have up to 8 individual Surfaces, where each Surface can have its own texture settings.
    Note that for meshes  a surface does not need to be contiguous.

This issue also came up 2 days ago in another thread: http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Mesh/red-light-for-LODs/m-p/888985#M956 But maybe it is worth to push it more up into public view ...



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I can't believe nobody have suggested that before!!!

Calling it 'surface' would make a big difference, and make things a lot easier to understand, at least for people new to SL and mesh in SL.

Where's the petition, jira, whatever to have LL change it from face to surface? Where do I sign?

- Luc -

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I repeat my support as before. Of course the internal use of "face" is quite deeply embedded (e.g. in LSL). That would make this change difficult. We might have to settle on using it ourselves, sort of unofficially. The only other simple alternative I can think of is to use "triangles" instead of "faces" when referring to the conventional meaning in the mesh context. That would be at odds with the more widely accepted convention.

I think "surface" fits the case of ordinary prims and sculpties perfectly. It is quite normal to talk about the cut surfaces of an apple, or the inside surface of a pipe, or even hidden surfaces. However, these surfaces are always single contiguous patches. In meshes, the "faces" can be collections of disconnected patches, which would each be a "surface" on its own in normal parlance. So, ironically, the term is slightly less well fitting for meshes. In the absence of a better alternative, however, I would not let that stand in the way.

There is always the option to use qualifiers, as in "mesh-face" or "sl-face". That could be useful for technical stuff where precision is essential, but it's a bit ugly and cumbersome for everyday use. It is also abandoning the conventional usage.

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  • Lindens

Internal to the code, its also sometimes referred to as a "TextureEntry" as that's how its stored - a texture and its associated properties,etc.

Some 3D modelers refer to this concept as a "Material Group", as that term does not imply anything about the connectivity of the various pieces.

It certainly won't be possible to eliminate "face" from the common lexicon as its baked pretty thoroughly into LSL (then again there its conflated with the term "side"), but it could be possible to update the terminology in the UI and documentation if there is a significant benefit in clarity. I'll make sure our UI designer takes a look at this thread. Thanks!

 

 -Nyx

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I do not agree with the OP. Sure, alot of programs call this something different, but not all of them. Face, to me, is the perfect term for what it is describing. Surface is not an adequate word. Plus, the term FACE is consistent with how 3ds Max uses the term, or at least, the tools that you need to use to create them. To change the term, would even further confuse users.

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I am confused here.

Are we reading the OP's suggestion the same way? That "face" be used for the triangles and/or polygons formed by the edges of connected vertices in the mesh, and that "surface" be used for those collections of such triangles/polygons to which different textures can be applied in-world, and which are called "faces" in LSL? I will admit that it is not entirely unambiguous as stated and could be read the other way round, but I was assuming the interpretation I described.

I don't know 3ds, but looking at its documentation (online html help 3ds Max 2012) it seems clear that it uses the term "face" in the context of mesh objects exactly the same as, for example, Blender; that is as the term for the triangles (or other ploygons) formed by the edged of connected mesh vertices (see face in glossary). If I have understood the OP correctly, that is exactly the same concept for which it is suggested the term "face" should be applied.

I do see "surface" used in the 3ds documentation to refer to the rendered entity of a NURBS object, as well as in some more loosely defined contexts. The NURBS surface is not, of course, the same thing as the mesh faces which it has to be converted into for upload. It becomes a collection of them, which is consistent with OP's suggested use of "surface" to describe a collection of "faces".

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hmmm, i thought it was absolutely clear what i meant with "surface" ;-(

to clarify. I refer to the term "Faces" as it is used in blender, Maya, 3DMax, etc... So as i understand it, in the 3D modelling context face is a polygon, while in SL context a face is a set of polygons. To make it even clearer here is how i understand the basic terms:

 

  • Vertex          a point in 3D space.
  • Edge            a line in 3D space between 2 vertices. 
  • Polygon       A plane figure that is bounded by a Closed path. 
  • Face            Mostly used as Synonym for Quads orTris (see below), but actually best fitting as Synonym for "Polygon".
  • Tri                Short for Triangle, a Polygon defined by a closed path with 3 connected  edges. 
  • Quad           Short for Quadrilateral, a Polygon defined by a closed path with 4 connected edges.  

So you can see, that wherever you look at, the term "face" is a bit whishy-whashy, at least it is not well defined. And what we have here with the definition of SL-faces doesn't make it better.

I do not understand, why the term "surface" is not good. For me it describes pretty well, what an SL-face is all about. As Nyx mentioned, the term "Face" is interconnected with the term "Side" which surely makes sense with basic building blocks (prims) but no longer with meshes... (IMHO)

 

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I perfectly understand the arguement and I agree that it can get hairy explaining to some1 how to make a face for SL. We are mixing 2 different things tho. 1 is the actual mesh, and the other is the texture map. Surface is not a term I've seen anywhere relating to maps, or with mesh. I'm quite the newb tho and all I know is max and admittedly not all that well. 3ds Max refers to such things as material maps or UV maps, but how do you reference that with the mesh object? It all is pretty confusing.

Personally, changing a term that has already been in use for a couple of years now, I don't think is a good idea. The term Face, as a reference to both a texture map and a mesh region, makes complete sense to me. It is just describing it to some1 else that makes it confusing, and it is going to be confusing anyway you do it.

Plus, I can't even imagine the headache it would be to change the term everywhere in the code. If I have to put up with a wishy washy term for developers, I'll take that for more work being done in other areas.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

We are mixing 2 different things tho. 1 is the actual mesh, and the other is the texture map.

The idea was to break up this exact confusion, which IMHO comes from the fact that "Face" means something different when used in the context of a 3D tool (one Polygon) and when used in the context of SL (one set of polygons attached to one texture)

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