Supplement 2 : Inside Story of Why It Is Called "Digital Nendo"

Supplement 2 : Inside Story of Why It Is Called "Digital Nendo"
~ Nendo (Clay), Block, or Voxel Paint? ~

By Hideki Nakazawa (multimedia artist)


The 3D tool, "Digital Nendo," recently published by Ask Kodansha Company, has produced the world's first situation. Our developing team could not find a proper name for a long time for the 3D tool which produced a completely new visual and physiological sensation. Finally we found a very proper name, "Digital Nendo," and here let me write about the inside story how we found it and how we developed it. That will help you very much to understand the very software. And this is also an answer for the many users who frankly told me, right after the publication of its Macintosh version, that it seemed like blocks. This was written as one of the supplements to give some additional explanation to "Significance of Digital Nendo in Visual Art History."


  1. When I First Invented It
  2. The First Explanation to Ask Kodansha Company
  3. The Word "Nendo" Running Alone
  4. Feeling Obtained at MacWorld Expo'96
  5. "Digital Nendo" as a Copy
  6. Controversy on "3D" vs. "Three Dimentional"

  • l. When I First Invented It
  • It was five years ago, in 1991, that I first invented the essential features of the very software, and, already at that time, the word "nendo" was in my mind as a metaphor. So, I asked Mr. Gento Matsumoto, the president of Saru Brunei Co., Ltd., like this: "When I used 'Swivel 3D,' I thought it's not what I had in mind. Do you know if there is any bitmap 3D software?" And I explained him about my idea using "nendo" as metaphor: "Each individual square dot in the two-dimentional software is equivalent to a molecule of colors in the colors. And a thing which is equivalent to a molecule of nendo (clay) in nendo can be represented as a cubic dot. So I wonder why there is no such 3D software . . . " Let me say more concretely.

    [1] I first invented it as a three-dimentional version of a two-dimentional bitmap paint tool.
    [2] "Colors" can be interpreted as a metaphor in a two-dimentional bitmap paint tool. And, in that case, each square dot in the two-dimentional paint tool is equivalent to "a molecule of colors."
    [3] As "colors" is two-dimentional visual material in the real world, so is "nendo" three-dimentional visual material in the real world.
    [4] Therefore, the three-dimentional bitmap paint tool invented in the above [1], can use "nendo" as a metaphor, and, in that case, the thing which is equivalent to "a molecule of nendo" must be a cubic dot.

    I explained my idea like that using the word "nendo" as a metaphor to Mr. Matsumoto, who was actually the one who first motivated me to use "Swivel 3D," saying, "3D is easy to use, too."

    When I asked him like that, he instantly said, "In the third dimention, the amount of data will become unbelievably huge, so actually it must be impossible to make such a software." And so, I also instantly said to him, "You are correct, but don't you think that it would be interesting if there were such a software, even if its resolving power was very low, for example, like the world as small as 16 by 16 by 16? If you think what matters is the huge amount of calculation, then, why don't you make the resoving power very low so that the number of dots in the world you handle will decrease?" I remember that I actually calculated at that time on the desk, and said, "Let's calculate the number of the dots of a 13-inch monitor. As 640 multiplied by 480 is 307,200, so if the number is like 125,000, which is the cube of 50, it's completely OK for the present machines."

    And while we were imagining how the jaggy nendo of low resolving power would look like, there came up in our conversation such metaphors as "cube blocks," "Lego blocks," and "cube sugar." Probably it was I who used the word, "cube blocks," but anyway, those metaphors came up in the stream of our conversation.

    Of course, Mr. Matsumoto instantly understood my idea and all what it meant. And, when I said, "In order to speed up the process of calculation, we can start from the small number of colors. I think just 16 colors is OK," he suggested, "Colorful one is of course good, but just think of clay. It is monochromic, and yet interesting enough. So, if it is a solid matter, even monochrome is OK." He agreed with my idea saying, "I've never seen such software. I wonder why." And after that he kindly often asked me about that.

    This is not concerning the metaphor, but let me say in passing: Around the time of the first conversation, I got an information from Mr. Hikaru Koike, an employee of Saru Brunei Co. Ltd., like this: "There is a concept of voxel in the field of fluid density calculation, but there is no such concept in a graphic field." He graduated from a programming school. I knew for the first time that there existed the word, voxel, as opposed to the word, pixel. I used the word, voxel, there after, and when I explained my idea on the software to Ask Kodansha Company and Simple Systems Co., I called the the 3D-section unit, the smallest unit which forms the three-dimentional world, as "voxel." Strictly speaking, the meaning of voxel is not necessarily limited like that. Either pixel or voxel is not peculiar to the bitmap concept, and the origin of the word voxel is the word volume, not the word box. (Japanese people pronounce "v" and "b" the same.)

    Let's go back to the subject. What I really wanted to say is this: "The very software invented as 'a bitmap 3D tool' was interpreted, from the beginning, with the metaphor of 'nendo as genuine three-dimentional visual material.'" So, it is possible that it will seem like a block rather than nendo, at the point you fix the resolving power low. Different from "Swivel 3D," it is easy to make free figures, which is a characteristic of the bitmap that can directly represent genuine visual material, which is one of the reasons why the word "nendo" was chosen.

  • 2. The First Explanation to Ask Kodansha Company
  • My first idea invented in 1991 was a little affected in the logical side of the t-axis by that stereogram boom prevailed around in 1993, but it was not made public by other people and it just stayed in my mind. And it was being neglected until 1995. (Or rather, I was thinking that someone else would surely make the like of it).

    In January of 1995, Ms. Akiko Honda came up to me with others from Ask Kodansha Company, with whom I had worked together for a different thing in 1994. She offered me to make some CD-ROM of my work. I had to decline their offer because just at that time I was supposed to publish my work's CD-ROM from other company. And they asked me again saying, "Isn't there anything that you have long wanted to make or any idea that has been kept for a long time?" It was that time when I at last remembered the bitmap 3D software invented in 1991. So, I first said, "it's not a work but an application tool," and then started to explain all the idea that had been kept in mind until then.

    Even at that time, I used the metaphor of "nendo," from the start, to make it easy to understand. First I told them that it was a bitmap 3D software, and then continued saying, "It is, in a word, nendo." I remember that it was that moment when Ms. Honda's imagination seemed to flash instantly at my one comment of "nendo." After I reached a concrete explanation, I alluded to the thing that it would seem like a block rather than nendo, because, in the case of low resolving power, each individual voxel would become so conspicuous. And, at the same time, I also explained that what the software aimed was nothing but nendo.

    If you think of the whole image of the very software in the level of the type, and divide it into the first-stage product and the second-stage product, then you will understand it better. The first-stage product is of low resolving power and will seem like a block and only a toy, but it should be a very easy-to-handle software which is movable in real time. The main purpose of the first-stage product is to widely appeal at the present time that "there exists such kind of a field," or "such idea is really actualized like this." And after the first-stage one appeared in the world, then what is to be created is its higher functioned version. In other words, the second-stage one will be of high resolving power, and it will seem like such perfect nendo as you can see almost no jagginess. It will appeal as the one that will be able to be applied for a highly sophisticated matter, such as a model of a human body specimen. To obtain such high function, however, you may possibly sacrifice its real-time nature or its handiness. In addition, the second-stage one will not be possibly produced until the technological rennovation occurs in both sides of hard and soft. Anyway, if you grasp the situation in such broad perspective, you will see that nendo is better than block as a metaphor, when you see it as a whole. The reason is simple: What is important is to appeal the idea that "material is a gathering of minute units." The matter how it looks according to the resolving power is only the matter in the level of technology. It goes without saying that "Digital Nendo" is a product of the first stage genuinely born from the idea. As for the second-stage one, it is often talked about among the members of the developing team under its temporary name as "Digital Nendo - PRO," but at present (October,1996), no actual development has started yet.

    At the first occasion of my explanation to Ask Kodansha Company, I already suggested the prototype of "Fukan-mode" and the prototype-type idea of "Slice-mode." I also suggested at that time the idea of "Guru-guru Window" and "Para-para Window," which will monitor the above two on the time-axis. In addition, I also explained that "Slice-mode" could be used for making para-para manga, and that it was possible to make "solid para-para manga." And I offered the idea, at that time, that it was necessary to input three numbers to fix a 3D-section unit (voxel) on the three-dimentinal coordinates, and that, as the number of mouses is two, so the other one could be inputted by the cursor keys of the keyboard with the left hand. Thus, fairly amount of the basic design was already made at the first meeting. (More precisely, the thing here stated was already in the conversation with Mr. Matsumoto in 1991. Those images of Amiga's CG that turns around again and again, and of the CT scan, gave me its hint, I think.)

    As I don't do programming myself, I was not so sure as to confirm that it was logically possible to produce it, nor how well it would really be actualized, though I felt "that was possible."

    As for the naming of the product, I remember that the name of "Digital Nendo" naturally came out of Ms. Honda's lips at the first meeting.

  • 3. The Word "Nendo" Running Alone
  • I do not know much but I heard that Ask Kodansha Company later approached several programming companies, and that only Simple Systems Co. affirmed saying, "That is possible. We can make it." Such being the case, a project team for developing the software was organized with Simple Systems Co., and it started to move toward its development.

    This is what I only assumed that, at the first occasion when Ask Kodansha Company explained it to Simple Systems Co., the word "nendo" or "Digital Nendo" had so strong linguistical power that its real image seemed to be transformed.

    The word "nendo" meant not only genuinely three-dimentional visual material, but also it emphasized its easy-to-handle nature such as being molded, squashed, or twisted as much as you want. It was different from what I meant, that is, "colors in the second dimention corresponds to nendo in the third dimention." And what was more troublesome, the function of easy-to-handleness was basically opposite of the bitmap concept. It was rather a function of a draw tool. That being the case, it seemed that Simple Systems Co. inadvertently grasped the software in the nuance of "a draw-type 3D software whose characteristic is to be freely transformed."

    I have to add that Ask Kodansha Company did not convey a wrong information intentionally. They seem to have only explained as "software like nendo." But I found in a temporary explanatory note on planning hurriedly made by Ask Kodansha Company, that they also emphasized the joyfulness of "nendo," and, at that time, I had to admit the situation of "the word 'nendo' running alone."

    Therefore, at the first meeting of the three, "Ask Kodansha Company + Simple Systems Co. + Hideki Nakazawa," I had to emphatically assert that "it may closer to a block or a brick rather than nendo."

    Let me record an excerpt from the paper which I brought with me to distribute to all of them on the day of the meeting:

    I remember that, when I finished my above explanation, Simple Systems Co. said, "It's different from what we imagined, but, OK, it can be produced."

    As I put emphasis on the possible misunderstanding derived from the word "nendo," it was developed under the temporary name of "Digital Nendo (?)," always with (?) there after. The reason why the word "nendo" remained as it was, is that it is too good a name to be thrown away, because the metaphor of "nendo" is an excellent copy which revokes the image so clearly.

    I heard that the programmers of Simple Systems Co. had been thinking until before the meeting of the three, that they were really going to make an ordinary draw 3D tool which emphasized the function of a free transformation. If so, the developing meaning of the software might have been quite the same with what Nintendo is rumorly going to make for Nintendo64, that is, a nendo-type 3D software with strengthened free transformation function (?). (I once heard that the elastic face of Mario at the first part of "Mario64" is for the purpose of its demonstration, but if it is wrong, I apologize. It is not confirmed yet.)

  • 4. Feeling Obtained at MacWorld Expo'96
  • Among us of the developing team, everything was understood by the only word of the "bitmap 3D" in the actual developing stage, so the metaphor of nendo, or that of a block or a brick was already actually unnecessary and forgettable. In other words, there needed no explanation of the quite new situation, that is, the situation neither of nendo, a block, nor a brick. But it was a different matter with the business team, and they needed an explanation. So, late in 1995, we discussed again its proper naming and that the use of the metaphor was necessary or not. It was about time when we had to appeal so-called "Digital Nendo (?)" to the outer world. To be concrete, it was time when we started to write magazine advertisements or negotiate with magazine companies for the coming "MacWorld Expo'96" which was going to be held in February of 1996. The software was at that time supposed to be published in May of 1996. (Actually the software, a Macintosh version, was published in July, 1996.)

    In January, 1996, Simple Systems Co. finished the first model's program which was in such a state as you could manage to handle it. Although it was still an utterly imperfect one, all of us, Ask Kodansha Company and myself, were very much pleased just because it could be "handled." The business team of Ask Kodansha Company soon started to show it to various persons and asked their evaluation which was as follows:

    The first-stage reaction: I hear it's name is just a temporary one, but I expect very much from the naming, "Digital Nendo."

    The second stage: When I actually see it, it seems like a block, not nendo. And I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable, as it does not freely change its form like nendo.

    The third stage: But when I actually handle it, I instantly feel its new three-dimentional sensation, and I like it very much as is.

    Although some people did not have the second-stage feeling, Ms. Honda worried very much about the result. She said that it was so regrettable that some people felt uncomfortable or discouraged in the second stage, in spite of its being truly very interesting and completely pleasurable.

    And such an idea once prevailed as we should use the word "Digital Nendo" only for a copy, and, as for an application name, we should take such a faithful name to its function as "Voxel Paint.

    Or, on a different occasion, another apparent name like "Virtual Block" seemed more acceptable, and again, the word "block" was thought to injure the free feeling peculiar to the bitmap. Conceptually speaking, as the whole image of this kind is "three-dimentional material," that is, "nendo," so it would not be good to fix the image through advocating "block" by the first software of this kind. Such being the case, that idea was soon casted.

    After all, we could not decide the naming, and the day of the presentation at "MacWorld Expo'96" arrived in February, with the unchanged name of "Digital Nendo (temporary name)."

    By the way, there was a pretty good response at the Expo. To tell the conclusion first, Ms. Honda instinctively felt that the name "Digital Nendo" had no problem at all. We had both adults and children actually use the software there, and all of them soon understood that it was a 3D tool and they enjoyed using it. They seemed to easily accept the demonstration of "Digital Nendo" and the explanation of a voxel as "a grain of nendo." we had prepared a commemorative gift for them, and it was a colored block ( ! ) which they also simply accepted with pleasure. So, we decided that the name of the software should remain to be the evocative one, "Digital Nendo." Ask Kodansha Company registered the word's trademark, and its application name was decided to be "Digital Nendo." At last it had its own name.

    Let me say in passing that it also turned out to be a bad thing that they accepted the software so easily at "MacWorld Expo'96." One of the problems we had cared about up to then was that whether or not the users would notice the way of handling it, that is, to use the left hand for the cursor keys, while using the right hand for the mouse. Until at the stage of my interface design, I inserted the explanation and alart about it again and again in the application itself. But, to our nice surprise, all the users at the Expo'96 soon started to use their both hands, with their left hand for the cursor keys, without waiting for any explanation. We were so relieved that we gave up to insert an explanation in the application for the product. But, after the sale of its Macintosh version started, we found a pretty number of users did not have a slightest idea of using their left hand. We should have noticed that the user who came to the Expo'96 were those of so-called "power users."

    Let me tell you another story concerning to the metaphor. Around "MacWorld Expo'96," the design of magazine ads and flyers of "Digital Nendo" was made by Mr. Gento Matsumoto, the president of Saru Brunei Co., Ltd. It was just a design of color nendo put alone. When I saw it, I did learn that "it was also nendo, but colored one." I newly recognized that the essence of the bitmap-conceptual "material" was color, contrary to that the essence of the object-figure-mode "body" is form. Thanks to the advertisement design, I did realized that. In the case of usual nendo without color, it would also have a nuance of "the three-dimentional material for making form," and, what is more troublesome, it would emphasize the direction of "freely-transforming ability," while color nendo would be more able to emphasize a nuance of genuine "three-dimentional visual (=color) material." It is a regret that I have had no chance to use the metaphor of "it is also nendo, but colored one" since then. {Actually I tried to use it for an icon design but gave it up.) The reason why Mr. Matsumoto designed the advertisement was that his software-design, "Popup Maker" and my "Digital Nendo" were supposed to be published at the same time as "Home Application" series by Ask Kodansha Company. Anyway I have been obliged to Mr. Matsumoto since when it was invented in 1991.

  • 5. "Digital Nendo" as a Copy
  • Now you know the process of the naming and how it was decided to be "Degital Nendo," and so let me explain my interpretation and attitude toward the name. There are four of it, from A to D.

  • A : Excellence as a Copy
  • One of the royal roads of an excellent copy is to gain impact through putting words side by side which evoke such a completely opposite images as seen in "digital" and "nendo." "BAKA CG" (an invention of Mr. Gabin Ito) was one of the examples. That has an advantage that you can gain people's interest before they see its actual product, and, at the same time, it has a disadvantage that the copy itself may run alone before the real product. That was also the problem with "Digital Nendo."

  • B : The Choice of the Word "Digital"
  • We chose the word unconsciously. While we were developing the software, we never discussed the word, except that if it would also be OK when it was translated into English.

    It seems to me that it was an excellent choice as a result. In japan, the word "digital" is often used against analog when it indicates the computer world against the real world. (I used the word almost in the same meaning in my text, "Significance of Digital Nendo in Visual Art History.") But, according to Ms. Honda, the case is different in Western countries, and they usually use the word "virtual," which has a different nuance for us in Japan.

    There are two reasons why the choice of the word "digital" is excellent.

    Firstly, the word "digital" shows the bitmap more emphatically. The origin of the meaning of "digital" is "digit=finger," as you know, and it means "countable with digits." In other words, it is not of continuous but of non-continuous, of intermittent, and of a staircase, that is, it is the concept of an integral number, and of the binary system of notation. You say a digital computer, which only means that the essence of a computer is a calculator treating a great amount of calculation in high-speed based on the principle of the binary system of notation. Therefore, the matter that a computer itself is digital has no relation with that how a computer, whose only job is to calculate in its inside part, can treat the concept which should be shown like the analog on its outside part (like a figure called a circle), and that whether or not it can output such a concept as closely as possible to the analog.

    In that point of view, as the object-figure-mode in a computer treats a concept (like a figure called a circle) as it is, which should be displayed like the analog on its outside part, and as it tries to output such a concept as closely as possible to the analog (up to the highest resolving power), so it can be said that it is, as it were, the digital way of calculation designed for the analog. On the contrary, as the bitmap concept in a computer decides from the start that it cannot treat a concept (like a figure called a circle) but only falsely, which should be displayed like the analog on its outside part, and it thoroughly holds its digital nature of data from start to last even in the point of the meaning, so it can be said that it is, as it were, the digital way of calculation designed for the digital. In other words, the apparent jagginess seen in the latter clearly shows "digital for digital," and in case the jagginess seems fine like the analog (like continuous), it is only an optical illusion caused by human eyes and brain, and it is not the programming designed toward that by a computer. From that reason, you can see that the word "digital" expresses the bitmap concept more powerfully than the object-figure-concept and that it is a proper word for the very "bitmap 3D" software.

    The second reason why the choice of the word "digital" is excellent is its efficiency in the contrast of the word "nendo." In other words, different from a block, nendo has a nature of a non-integral number, of a non-staircase, of non-intermittent, and of continuous, so it is very analog-like material, if seen from the origin of the word. Thus, even in the level of the origin of the word, the choice of the word "digital" follows emphatically such a theory of being an excellent copy, seen in the above A, as to get impact by arranging words side by side which evoke opposite images. Furthermore, it has another effect to get closer to the truth, as the word "digital" acts as adjective to the material noun of "nendo." If it were "Virtual Nendo," it only brought continuous nendo in the computer world as it is, while "Digital Nendo" brings the continuous nendo after altering it into an intermittent one, so, also in that meaning, it is a proper word of the very "bitmap 3D" software.

  • C : The Use of "Nendo," the Word of the Real World
  • When you use a word of the real world in your computer, you have to be beware whether it is just a metaphor or it is for the purpose of transplanting. For example, "MacPaint" is just a metaphor of "painting," and its purpose is not for transplanting precisely the individual real canvas, colors, and a brush on the computer. If you tried to solve the problem "how to draw graphics on your computer with a mouse," it would turn out to be similar to the relation of the real canvas, colors, and a brush.

    On the contrary, "Painter" is one of the paint tools whose purpose is to transplant the real world to the computer world. In the case of such a simulator as a tool "Painter" whose whole purpose is to transplant, it seems to me that it cannot be called a tool but only a work in a programmer's level. It seems to be the same as to make a model of an elaborate sailing boat which will actually float on water. I am not saying that it is bad, and I would rather estimate it as a programming work, and yet it does not seem to me that it is easy to handle nor interesting when used as an actual tool.

    There was one thing that I had not noticed about "Digital Nendo" until I was interviewed about it for several times. Although we, the developer side, regarded "nendo" simply as a metaphor or a copy, we found that people sometimes misunderstood it as if its only purpose was "to transplant nendo on a computer." Such misunderstanding will happen as far as you use the words of the real world. If we had named it as "Voxel Paint," for example, such misunderstanding would not have happen. As you see, the naming is a difficult matter.

    If we had named it as "Virtual Block," it would have induced another harmful effect, as can be explained by the above idea. If it was named as "block," as it seemed like a block, the risk of being misunderstood as that "its purpose is to transplant a block of the real world onto a computer" would jump to the highest point. If so, it would be nothing but a block simulator, and it would not be even a tool. I heard that some kind of software was recently published in some foreign country, which transplanted Lego blocks almost as they were on a computer. "Virtual Block" would only have been a toy of the same type or just a work in a programmer level. The very software is not of such a type, but it is a 3D graphic tool. It is a tool for painting. It is very important to appeal that precisely. For that reason, it is thought to be more proper to use "nendo" which has a status as a tool for painting, than to use a block which is only a toy for children.

  • D : Reconsideration of "Nendo" as a Metaphor
  • I already explained why the word "nendo" was chosen as a metaphor again and again, and its biggest reason was that "the closest thing to genuine three-dimentional visual (color) material is 'nendo'."

    The reason why it is nendo, not a block, was also explained repeatedly. The reasons are as follows: "Because nendo can emphasize a function of making unfixed forms (or, the feeling of free handwriting) better than a block," "because it should be represented by nendo rather than a block, if considered in the level of a type," "because it is nendo, not a block, that becomes powerful when put in contrast with the word 'digital'," and "because it is a tool for painting, not a block simulator."

    Let me add one more big reason, which is, "because I would like the user to understand the fundamental meaning of the very software." Although it may overlap with the reason of "because it should be represented by nendo rather than a block," the fundamental meaning of the very software in the case is such an idea as "a gathering of microscopic units is material." In other words, it is a story of possessing the world (or, modernism) in the Descartes' system of coordinates, that is, "the new way of grasping the third dimention," and "3D world as integral calculus of voxel," and a story of an atomistical view of the world which was written in my long essay called "Significance of Digital Nendo in Visual Art History."

    I expected the image of the word "nendo," as "playing riddles" and a "hint," would remind the users of the fundamental meaning of the very software. Let's imagine a thing which seems like a block, but named as "nendo." This is "playing riddles" and a "hint" offered to the users to reach the answer of the first stage that "it only seems like that, because of the matter of the resolving power." If you think of the idea of infinitesimal calculus for even only a second, then, you will easily notice the fundamental meaning of "the atomistical view of the world as the way of possessing the world."

    Already three months have passed since the publication of its Macintosh version, and I found that some users have not noticed yet even the answer of the first stage. Some people who are very good at using a computer or even an illustrator who draws a picture with a paint tool asked me about its naming questioningly. The principle that "the bitmap picture (of Macintosh) is only a gathering of 72dpi square-section unit" seems to me very clear and easy to understand just like atomism, but it does not seem like that to others, does it? If you have ever tried to enlarge a bitmap picture of a size as small as an icon, you surely know that the size of each individual square dot seems as large as of a tile. This case is only its three-dimentional version. One of the reasons why the very software equips not only with a enlarging function but also with a reducing function, is to simulate "Digital Nendo - Pro" of the high resolving power in the present stage, which will be published in future. The three-dimentional version can already simulate the fact that the apparent jagginess will be reduced, if the tile's size is reduced.

    Let me add one more reason why the word "nendo" was chosen as a metaphor. It was, of course, because "it can appeal the users how fun it is." Too strong fun image would not be so good, and yet, the pleasurable image of word "nendo" is important as a mataphor and as a product copy. As "colors" are pleasurable things, and as "musical instruments" are pleasurable things, so is "nendo" a pleasurable thing as the material of creation.

  • 6. Controversy on "3D" vs. "Three Dimentional"
  • Lastly, apart from the naming story, let me allude to another inside story of our early discussion how to explain the very software to the outer world, that is, there arose a big controversial issue among the developing team that "which is better, '3D' or 'three dimentional'?" We concluded to take "3D," but, at the stage of "MacWorld Expo'96" held in February of 1996, our request was like that: "Never use '3D.' Call it of 'three dimentional."

    We did not want it to be called as of "3D," in order to make the difference clear from conventional 3D tools. Usually, all of what is especially called "3D" things are object-figure-mode draw tools. Therefore, in the already established "3D" field, using "3D" for the completely different type of a bimap conceptual paint tool was considered to give us a great damage. Especially, such users having superficial knowledge of 3D tools would understand it as low as that "it can make nothing but a block-like visual thing," before they find it as a tool based on a completely different concept. The definitions of "3D" and "three-dimentional" written in a dictionary are the same, but there exists another word feeling in "3D," that is, "3D" is used especially for a smooth-feeling CG (of a draw tool).

    Some members, including me, among the developing team asserted that "we were unwilling to use '3D'," and so we agreed to request them not to use "3D." By doing so, it became easier for the developing team as there was no need to compare it with conventional so-called draw 3D. And we decided even not to practice any pseudo-interchange for any kind of the format of so-called draw 3D which principally never be able to practice interchange correctly, because of the fundamental difference of a data structure.

    That was a case, but, after "MacWorld Expo'96," we found eventually that it was impossible, from the start, to explain even to people who had never used conventional 3D tools, that "this was not of 3D." After I started to get interviewed concerning the very software, I began to wonder whether or not I explained the matter of "this was not of 3D" to each writer or each editorial staff member who had no sophisticated knowledge. The business team of Ask Kodansha Company reacted much faster than me. After a hot discussion, Ms. Honda settled their idea into one and came to me to consult on it.

    According to Ms. Honda, as was indicated in the conclusion of "Home Application," their image of the users included ordinary people who were not so-called "power users." And as for those comparatively universal people, "what they wanted to do after they bought a personal computer" was, at present, internet and "3D." And Ms. Honda wanted those many potential users to purchase the very software, those who never used any 3D tool, and yet who wanted to use it some day. As such was the situation, it was not good idea to say "this was not of 3D," if seen from the side of business. And she concluded that the software was of "3D" and of "three dimentional," and that it was proper enough to call it of "3D" without an excuse.

    Therefore, I agreed with her. Furthermore, I changed my former recognition that the world of "3D" had already been established as that of draw tools, that is, I changed it like this: "You may probably think of a type of the draw tools from the word '3D' at the present stage of 1996. In a few years, however, the bitmap-type 'Digital Nendo,' which is easy to understand and easy to handle with a physiological sensation, will be the standard of '3D.' Therefore, it is the very software that is of true '3D'." Aside from whether or not the standard will shift in some years, the true type of "3D" must be the bitmap type 3D tools like "Digital Nendo," that will appear in great number in future. The true story of the controversy on "which is better, '3D' or 'three dimentional'?" seems like a funny story if you hear at present, but I hope it will give you another chance to understand the very software better.

    By Hideki Nakazawa on October 18, 1996

    *The Text, "Supplement 2 : Inside story of why it is called 'Digital Nendo' ~ Nendo (Clay), Block, or Voxel Paint? ~," was written on October 17, 1996, as one of the complements for the text, "Significance of Digital Nendo in Visual Art History."
    *The first edition (1996.10.18) --- Recorded in a CD-ROM, "Digital Nendo," (Windows version) published by Ask Kodansha Company on November 8, 1996. Since October 18,1996, appeared in Hideki Nakazawa's Homepage: (

    *Related texts..."Significance of Digital Nendo in Visual Art History" , "Supplement 1 : The New Way of Making 3D Objects Using 'Digital Nendo'" , "Supplement 3 : Concerning 3D Printer"

    *In HIDEKI NAKAZAWA's homepage, you can find a homepage of Digital Nendo by HIDEKI NAKAZAWA himself: ( Ask Kodansha Company's homepage: (

    **ENGLISH version: Translated by Rubiko Nakazawa.

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