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Encyclopedia > Wireframe

A wire frame model is a visual presentation of an electronic representation of a three dimensional or physical object used in 3D computer graphics. It is created by specifying each edge of the physical object where two mathematically continuous smooth surfaces meet, or by connecting an object's constituent vertices using straight lines or curves. The object is projected onto the computer screen by drawing lines at the location of each edge.

Sample rendering of a wireframe , , and approximate
Sample rendering of a wireframe cube, icosahedron, and approximate sphere

Using a wire frame model allows visualization of the underlying design structure of a 3D model. Traditional 2-dimensional views and drawings can be created by appropriate rotation of the object and selection of hidden line removal via cutting planes.

Since wireframe renderings are relatively simple and fast to calculate, they are often used in cases where a high screen frame rate is needed (for instance, when working with a particularly complex 3D model, or in real-time systems that model exterior phenomena). When greater graphical detail is desired surface textures can be added automatically after completion of the initial rendering of the wireframe. This allows the designer to quickly review changes or rotate the object to new desired views without long delays associated with more realistic rendering.

The wire frame format is also well suited and widely used in programming tool paths for DNC (Digitally Numerically Controlled) machine tools.

More illustrations

A surface shaded object (not wireframe)
A surface shaded object (not wireframe)
A see-through wireframe
A see-through wireframe
A wireframe image using
A wireframe image using hidden line removal

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Wireframes + Greg Froh, 2005 (214 words)
Wireframes allow a developer to work at a high level towards usage-based design, without worrying about colours, fonts, content, or underlying technologies.
Wireframes help define the elements of an interface that will remain constant, as well as the elements that are expected to change.
A wireframe is also useful for determining some basic information architecture, showcasing how the same content may be accessed by more than one means.
  More results at FactBites »



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