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A 3D box

3D (or 3-D) means three-dimensional, or having three dimensions. For example, a box is three-dimensional; it is solid, and not thin like a piece of paper. It has volume, a top and bottom, left and right (sides), as well as a front and back. You can turn the box around to view it from another side (called a face, surface or simply side).

A dimension is measurable in inches, microns, miles, kilometers, or any other unit of length.

The three dimensions are often called length (or depth), width (or breadth), and height. Some purposes use other words.

3D graphics are used to make video games or animated movies. Many calculations are needed to make pictures seem three-dimensional on a screen. Modern computers usually have a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to handle these calculations.

Picture of the "X axis", "Y axis", and "Z axis".
A 3D mathematical picture, or graph, with lines measuring width, height, and length.

In mathematics[change | change source]

In the Cartesian coordinate system, length, width, and height are given in letters (variables) to make them easier to write, or if a value is not known. Often X is width, Y is height, and Z is length. Other 3D coordinate systems such as spherical coordinates include both linear and angular measurements.

The mathematical study of 3D shapes and dimensions is called solid geometry.

Time[change | change source]

Some people see time as a fourth dimension. It is also measured. It is measured in units of time such as seconds, hours, years, or any other measurement of time.