Glossary

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General

Alamgram
ASCII
Bandwith
Binary
Bit
Byte
CGI
Email
HTML
HTTP
Inlay
Kilobyte
Megabyte
XML

General 3d

Alpha Blending
Buffer
Frame Buffer
Graphics Pipeline
Lighting
Polygon
Texel
Texture
Texture Mapping
Scene
Shading None (Uniform)
Shading Gouraud
Shading Lambert
Z-Buffer

 
General 2d

Layer
Persistence
Pictures
Pixel
RGB
Sprites
Transparency

General Sound

Amplitude
Audio
Frequence
Music
Panning
Sound
Volume

Animation

Keyframe
Interpolation
Extrapolation
Ease in
Ease out


General

Alamgram

The term Alamgram is used to describe a new kind of interactive audiovisual production, an innovation only recently made possible by Alambik.

Alamgrams are ordered audiovisual productions (usually linear) called clips, which can function interactively but which do not change their predefined course as they are run.

The AUDIO rendering of an Alamgram represents, from a technological perspective, the marriage of a wide range of sound technologies, bundled together and available for the first time in a single authoring environment:

· The reproduction and use of digital audio recordings (music, voice, etc.)
· Sound generation in realtime (sound effects, electronic music)
· Realtime speech synthesis (text to speech)
· Realtime digital processing of audio signals (DSP)

The VISUAL rendering of an Alamgram likewise represents for the first time the availability of a wide range of imaging technologies in a single authoring environment:

· Two-dimensional display
· Vector-based display
· Three-dimensional display
· Realtime digital image processing (special effects, filters, etc.)

Inlay

An Alambik Script that can be embedded in an HTML page.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

This is the de facto world-wide standard for the code numbers computers use to represent letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard ASCII codes, each of which can be represented by a 7 digit binary number: 0000000 through 1111111.

Bandwidth

How much "stuff" you can send through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move around 57,000 bits in one second. Full-motion, full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.

Binary

Information consisting entirely of ones and zeros. Also, commonly used to refer to files that are not simply text files, e.g. images.

Bit (Binary digIT)

A single digit number in base-2. In other words, either a 1 or a zero. The smallest unit of computerized data.

Byte

A set of bits representing a single character. Usually there are 8 bits in a byte, sometimes more, depending on how the measurement is being made.

Kilobyte

A thousand bytes. Actually, this is usually 1024 bytes.

Megabyte

A million bytes. Or, technically, 1024 kilobytes.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface)

A set of rules that describe how a web server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the CGI program) talks to the web server. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

The coding language used to create hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web.
The "hyper" in hypertext comes from the fact that in HTML you can specify that any block of text, or any image, be linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a "web browser".

XML (eXtensible Markup Language)

A widely used system for defining data formats. XML provides a rich language to format complex documents and data structures such as invoices, molecular data, news feeds, glossaries, inventory descriptions, real estate properties, etc.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires an HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. HTTP is the most important protocol used for the World Wide Web (WWW).

Email (Electronic Mail)

Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. Email can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses.


General 2d

RGB

In Alambik, a color is defined by its red, green, and blue (RGB) components, the values of which can range between 0 and 255. Unlike the properties of mixing paints in the real world, RGB uses additive values: mixing red and green doesn't give you brown, but rather yellow. In RGB parlance, red corresponds to "255,0,0", black to "0,0,0" and white to "255,255,255".

Pictures

Pixels on a computer screen (or any other kind of screen) can be manipulated one at a time or in groups. A group of pixels is called an image (or "PICTURE").

Icons

Certain kinds of images contain transparent zones which let you see the background behind them. Such images are called icons ("ICON").

Transparency (read Transparency page)

An Alambik graphics object is considered transparent if you can see through it (or any portion of it); i.e., if the background and other elements behind it are visible. Transparency can be expressed as a color. Transparency is variable - we can talk about total transparency (used in the case of icons) or degrees of transparency. In the former case, the "color" of transparency is a kind of invisible color which lets the background show through. Pixels are either transparent or not. In the case of degrees of transparency, transparency is progressively applied to the pixels in an image according to degree.

Note: Transparency by degree functions correctly only if all screen elements are of the same kind (either all persistent or all non-persistent). It should be noted as well that this functionality, unlike total transparency, does not take into account other Alambik screens.

Layer

Layers let you specify the order in which Alambik objects are to be displayed in an Alambik screen. Objects with higher-value layers always show up above objects with lower-value layers. By default, the mouse icon displays in layer 65535 and all other objects in layer 255. Each Alambik screen can hold up to 65535 different layers.

Persistence

Persistence is a property allowing you to select whether or not an object must be re-displayed every time the screen gets updated.

Sprites

A sprite is composed of a series of icons which get displayed one after another, thus creating an animation. This animated series of icons is referred to as an "action" and a single sprite can have several actions. As with icons, sprites possess transparent zones which let the elements behind them show through. These transparent zones can be in the middle of a sprite, or can also define its edges. Any sprite, in fact, which is not perfectly regular will usually have transparent zones comprising its edges. The series of icons in a given action must always be the same size. Unlike pictures and icons, sprites are by default persistent.


General 3d

Alpha Blending

A graphics processing technique that simulates transparency or translucency in objects in a 3D scene to create visual effects like smoke, glass or water.

Basic Quad Basic picture Alpha Add Alpha Sub Alpha Blend

Buffer

Memory dedicated to a specific function or set of functions. For example: the graphics memory functions as a frame buffer, but can also be used as a Z buffer or a video buffer. Smaller buffers serve as temporary storage areas for data and instructions.

Frame Buffer

Memory that is used to store rendered pixels before they are displayed on the monitor.

Graphics Pipeline

The series of functions, in logical order, that must be performed to compute and display computer graphics.

Lighting

In 3D graphics, lighting is used to calculate the degree to which an object is affected by a lightsource. Lighting is used in games to create realistic looking scenes with greater depth instead of flat-looking or cartoonish environments.

Pixel

Shorthand for "picture element." A pixel is the smallest element of a graphics display or the smallest element of a rendered image.

Polygon

The building blocks of all 3D objects (triangles in the case of Alambik) used to form the surfaces and skeletons of 3D objects.

Texel

The smallest unit of a texture map, similar to pixels being the smallest unit of a rendered image.

Texture

An image file (such as a bitmap or a GIF) used to add complex patterns onto objects' surfaces in a 3D scene.

Texture Mapping

The process of applying a texture to the surface of 3D models to simulate walls, sky, etc. Texture mapping enables developers to add more realism to their models.

Scene

A scene is a structure containing all the information necessary to identify and position all of the models, lights and cameras needed for rendering. A scene can be identified with the 3D coordinate space in which rendering takes place. This space is called the world coordinate space, as opposed to the local coordinate spaces associated with each individual object in the scene.

Z-Buffer

The area of graphics memory used to store the Z or depth information pertaining to rendered objects. The Z-buffer value of a pixel is used to determine if it is behind or in front of another pixel. Z calculations prevent background objects from overwriting foreground objects in the frame buffer.

Z-Buffered
Z-Sorted

No Shading (Uniform)

The simplest possible shade mode: includes only the surface color, which is consistent across the surface. This is because surface normal and lighting information are not calculated at all. Useful with texture mapped surfaces where the texture image is preferred to produce the object's color.  

Lambert Shading

Calculates a unique color for the whole polygon surface. This shade mode is based on lambert's cosine law discovered by Johan Lambert, a sixteenth-century astronomer and physicist. Lambert's cosine law states that the intensity of light on a surface is proportional to the angle at which the light hits the surface.  

Gouraud Shading

Calculates surface by linearly interpolating the colors calculated at the vertices of each polygon resulting in a smoothly shaded object.This shade mode is an extension of the Lambert shade mode. It was developed by Henri Gouraud in 1971.  

Animation

Keyframe

The state of an object explicitly defined in one key. This state includes an object's position, rotation, size, shape, etc., all of which can be specified together in a single key or separately in different keys. Animation is achieved by assigning different values to a particular parameter (such as position) between two different keys. The computer then automatically calculates (interpolates) this change over time.

Interpolation

A change in the state of an object over time between two consecutive keyframes.

Extrapolation

A change in the state of an object over time before or after previously-defined keyframes. Used to cycle animation. For example, to animate walking, you only need to keyframe the legs for a single step and cycle the rest.

Ease in

Animation decelerates before thekeyframe.

Ease out

Animation accelerates after the keyframe.


General Audio
Audio

Audio refers to the main sound output (such as MASTER CONTROL on a mixing table).

Music

Music refers to all "realtime-rendered music" (i.e., music which has not been pre-recorded, but instead is rendered in real time by the computer). All "tracker" software formats are supported (.mod, .xm, .it, .s3m).

Sound

Sound refers to all "pre-rendered audio" (i.e., music which has already been recorded and compressed). Such formats include mp3, mp2, mp1, wav and ogg. All such formats can either be loaded entirely before playing, or alternatively streamed over a network.

Channel

A given channel can contain only one sound or item of music at a time - if there are several sounds at the same time, they run the risk of cutting one another off. All channels are in stereo.

Volume

The volume level of the sound being played. Valid in the range [0, 255]. If the value is 0, the sound will be muted; if 255, the sound will be played at the highest possible volume.

Amplitude

The current amplitude, in Alambik, refers to the volume of a sound at any given time. VU Meters can easily be produced using amplitude as the index of measurement. Valid in the range [0, 255].

Frequency

Technically, frequency refers to the number of cycles a sound wave makes in one second. As a realtime effect, frequency transposes the sound currently playing on a given channel. For example, in higher frequencies a sound will play faster and at a higher pitch. In lower frequencies, a sound will play slower and at a lower pitch. Frequency is expressed in hertz. Valid in the range [100, 705600].

Panning

Panning refers to the position (between left and right) from which any sound channel will be played. It's easiest to think of panning as the volume at which a given sound is played out of two separate speakers. If the sound coming out of one speaker is louder than the other, the sound will seem to be closer to the louder speaker. Special effects such as stereophony can easily be produced using panning in Alambik. Valid in the range [0, 255]