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Vertex Normal

Vertex normals are just like other normals - a 1 unit length perpendicular, but since points in space can't have perpendicular line - it has sense only when drawing a face.

How do vertex normals work

Both images are THE SAME 2 triangles from slightly different points of view.

Both images can be done with 6 pixels (the green and red one has same position in space, but different normals).

Left image: since the red and green normals are different - you can distinctly see how the color rapidly change from light green to darker one, but on the right image I have "merged" red and green normals (averaged them), therefore now you can't see the crease and the color changes smoothly - the normals are interpolated and create a smooth surface.