A point in 3 dimensions can be represented as distances along 3 axes. The distances are known as the coordinates. The axes, labeled `x`, `y` and `z`, are—by convention—arranged in a right-handed coordinate system.

To differentiate between a vector and a scalar (a non-vector, numerical value), we will write the name of a vector in bold, with an arrow on top. A vector can also be written as its three components in between angle brackets.

\begin{align} \vec{\mathbf{v}} & = \langle x, y, z \rangle \\ \end{align}

The sum of two vectors is the vector obtained by following the two vectors from the origin of the coordinate system one by one. The difference of the two vectors is the vector obtained by starting at the tip of the second vector and travelling to the tip of the first. Both operations can be performed by adding or subtracting the individual coordinates of the two vectors.

\begin{align} \vec{\mathbf{v}_1} & = \langle a, b, c \rangle \\ \vec{\mathbf{v}_2} & = \langle d, e, f \rangle \\ \vec{\mathbf{v}_1} + \vec{\mathbf{v}_2} & = \langle a + d, b + e, c + f \rangle \\ \vec{\mathbf{v}_2} - \vec{\mathbf{v}_1} & = \langle d - a, e - b, f - c \rangle \\ \end{align}

A vector can be scaled by a scalar, stretching or squashing the vector. The operation is performed by scaling each coordinate of the vector by the scalar.

\begin{align} \vec{\mathbf{v}} & = \langle a, b, c \rangle \\ k \vec{\mathbf{v}} & = \langle ka, kb, kc \rangle \end{align}

With these pieces, we can now represent a ray originating at `vec bbo` and passing through `vec bbp` as two vectors:

- The origin `vec bbo`.
- The direction `(vec bbp - vec bbo)`.