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mèdeis ageômetrètos eisitô mou tèn stegèn, so it read on the entrance to Plato's academy- "Let no one ignorant of geometry enter." And so it is for technical artists and animators- some math is really a fundamental requirement of being a TA. Fortunately, philosophy is not.

Even if you don't need to be able to multiply matrices by hand, you should understand, for example, how to multiply matrices and numbers into different coordinate systems, and the same is true for most everything else on this page.




  • Data Types, a description of different types of data and numbers and what they mean and are.
  • Math Functions, a description of what many built-in language functions do.
  • Number Operators, the definitions and usage of a variety of number operators.
  • Random Numbers, an overview of (psuedo)random numbers on computers


  • Vector Primer, an overview of vectors and common mathematical operations.
  • Trigonometry, an essential part of CG. This goes over some necessary and common functions and concepts, such as sines, cosines, dot products, etc.
  • Quaternion, what is a?
  • Barycentric Coordinates, an overview of and how to find them.


  • Matrix Primer, and overview of matrices, operations, and common manipulations in a variety of languages.
  • Coordinate Systems, a description of common coordinate systems, such as Local/Object, World, Screen, View, Tangent, Normal, Parent, and Gimbal.
  • ObjectOffset Matrix, written for MaxScript but applicable to all 3D programs, goes over how an object actually transforms behind the scenes.


External Sources

  • The Matrix Explained by Bobo. Most of the info on this page is explained more thoroughly and succinctly by Bobo on his DVD, and this Wiki, especially the MaxScript areas, are in his debt tremendously. It is an absolutely invaluable resource for any technical animator and useful for any technical artist, whether using MXS or MEL- the scripting involved is very simple and the concepts are directly transferrable.
  • Interpolation Explains the 0-1 range, LERP, Smoothstep, Squared, InvSquared, Sin, InvSin, Weighted Avg and CatmullRom Splines in a visual fashion.
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