Naming components of 3D models

Naming components of 3D models

A 3D model is usually made up on different components. If it is a figure, then perhaps the creator will have head, torso, legs and arms components (or even many more). If a motor vehicle, then maybe a chassis, windows, wheels and so on. Most objects are made up of components.

Scene creators frequently use multiple models (figures, architecture, vehicles, props, etc) to establish a scene. In doing so, they pose and arrange these models. They may also tweak the materials of an object, perhaps changing the glossiness, opaqueness and so on. To do these they need to easily identify the specific component and/or its materials.

While some object creators are excellent at naming the components and materials in their models, others are less so.

Below is a screen capture of one of my Blender projects (a work-in-progress as I want to improve an earlier model). It is a medical bench used in x-raying patients.


It is currently named Cube.005. Here are the materials associated with it:


As you can see I have named one of them. No doubt, if you are a user of this model then you should be able to guess which of the materials is specifically used for the portion of the model where the patient reclines during the x-ray. But what do the other materials refer to?  What about the black bit at the foot of the benchtop? If I were a scene creator who was using the model in its current format then I would have to click on each material to figure it out. Sure, that’s only a few seconds. But imagine if I were creating a scene with a large number of objects. It would then be time wasting and irritating.

Earlier in my career I was a software developer. Software development is a lot like 3D modelling. Both have a design stage. Both involve creating components that interact with other components within the structure. And in both cases the final product gets passed onto a user who sometimes need to interact with elements of the object. Poor naming of  components causes problems. As an example, at one point in my career I was actually paid a lot of money to visit corporate clients and rename their database tables and fields so that they could extract meaningful business reports.

This said, I feel that I know a least a little about object nomenclature in generic design. I therefore submit that 3D objects and their components/materials should be given useful names that permit end-users to quickly get about their business.

So what should a good name look like?

I would suggest that initially you consider the common name by which we know something. As an example, a steering wheel for a vehicle may be named “SteeringWheel” (note my use of caps to separate words) and is a very user-friendly name. But what if something does not have an obvious name? For example, an average sedan car has 4 doors. Instead of just “Door1”, “Door2” etc, you might name them “FrontLeftDoor”, “FrontRightDoor”, “BackLeftDoor” and “BackRightDoor”. There can be no confusion here as to which door is which on a list of objects/components.

Therefore I suggest that for more difficult objects, a 3D object designer uses at least three attributes to name components: Purpose, Position and Description. These, I suggest, would be meaningful to any user of the object.


Anyway, that is just me. Perhaps there is a dominant naming standard out there, but if so I don’t see many people using it and would be delighted if someone can point me in its direction.




    1. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. :) I was able to see the picture and it was excellent seeing the naming :) Thanks for sharing with me :) I really need to learn more about the Unreal Engine too. :) Greg

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