Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Need help with a descriptor

  1. Mar 20, 2006 #1

    I'm trying to come up with two descriptors to classify two different ways of (macroscopically) looking at something.

    Let's say a tree.

    Now, one way to look at is through a "cross-section" view - where you could see the rings, veins, etc. (My tree knowledge leaves a lot to be desired).

    The second way you look at the tree is "externally" - where you'd see the whole tree (but not its insides,etc). This would be what you meant when you say "look at that tree over there".

    But "cross-section" view and "external" view don't really have a nice ring to them. Is there a better way to describe these two different viewpoints/approaches?

    Here are some of my thoughts:


    Any suggestions - perhaps more formal?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2006 #2
    Profile view?
    orthographic projection?
    oblique projection?
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2006
  4. Mar 21, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    "Elevation" is the proper terminology for the external view one would see if looking at the tree (the view is transfered to the vertical plane). Subsequent views based on that would be projections (or as Cyrus already mentioned orthographic projections to be preceise). "Cross section" is the proper term as well. Please don't use "cut away." You could shorten that to "section" if you prefer.
  5. Mar 21, 2006 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    That's just sick...

  6. Mar 21, 2006 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Oh man. My pun-o-meter didn't even register that one. Slipped under the radar. Good catch Danger.
  7. Mar 21, 2006 #6
    Nice catch. Unintentional, I promise.

    What about "component view" - what would be its opposite?

    Here's a rephrasing of the entire question:

    What is a good way to describe these two viewpoints:

    1) seeing the trees but no forest


    2) seeing the forest but no trees?

    The answer's dont necessarily have to be technical, just understandable.
  8. Mar 21, 2006 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I don't think that 'component view' should be used. As far as I know, that's another term for what's commonly called an 'exploded view', wherein all the parts of something are shown isolated from each other so you can see how they fit together.
  9. Mar 21, 2006 #8
    I don't think you're talking about a simple "cross-section" or "section" which you get by simple cutting something along a given plane. You're probably refering to something more elaborate, like the famous "Visible Man, Visible Woman, Visible Horse" models, or two dimensional versions of these. If so, I'm not sure there is a term for this very elaborate kind of fictional view of a things internal structure. They often mix fictional transparency with cutaway views and other devices for visualization of structure. It could be technical artists have a term for this.
  10. Mar 21, 2006 #9
    I'm also not conversant with the word "descriptor".

    The Webster's defines it thus:

    One entry found for descriptor.
    Main Entry: de·scrip·tor
    Pronunciation: di-'skrip-t&r
    Function: noun
    : something (as a word or characteristic feature) that serves to describe or identify; especially : a word or phrase (as an index term) used to identify an item (as a subject or document) in an information retrieval system"

    It's not clear to me, still, what constitues a "descriptor" as opposed to an "adjective".

    What are some examples of "descriptors" (i.e. sentences with examples)?
  11. Mar 21, 2006 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    What class is this for? It would help in the suggestions for answers.

    Off the top of my head I would label

    1 = Detail View
    2 = ??? (How do you see a forest with no trees in it?) Layout comes to mind though.
  12. Mar 21, 2006 #11
    how about topographic view
  13. Mar 21, 2006 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Perhaps. A topographic usually implies little overall detail as viewed from above. I guess that wasn't really specified, so it could be what we're looking for too.
  14. Mar 21, 2006 #13


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It's an old cliche. You see the trees but not the forest, meaning you're so focused on the details you miss the big picture. I've never heard it said the other way around though, that you see the forest but not the trees in it.

    Though, if you're talking about seeing the whole tree vs a section through it, then I'd say an exterior view vs. a section view (and you can specify the direction of the sections depending which way you slice up your tree...longitudinal section, transverse section).

    If you're talking about seeing details, like each tree in the forest, I'd just say it that way...detailed view. When you "zoom out" to the entire forest, then I'd suggest something like an "overview."
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook