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This article proposes and demonstrates a technique enabling polygon-based scanline hidden-surface algorithms to be used in applications that require a moderate degree of user interaction. Interactive speeds have been achieved through the use of screen-area coherence,a derivative of frame-to-frame coherence and object coherence. This coherence takes advantage of the face that most of the area of the screen does not change from one frame to the next in applications that have constant viewing positions for a number of frames and in which a majority of the image remains the same. One such application, the user interface of constructive solid geometry (CSG) based modelers, allows a user to modify a model by adding, deleting, repositioning, and performing volumetric Boolean operations on solid geometric primitives. Other possible applications include robot simulation, NC verification, facility layout, surface modeling, and some types of animation. In this article, screen-area coherence is used as the rationale for recalculating only those portions of an image that correspond to a geometric change. More specifically, this article describes a scanline hidden-surface removal procedure that uses screen-area coherence to achieve interactive speeds. A display algorithm using screen-area coherence within a CSG-based scanline hidden-surface algorithm was implemented and tested. Screen-area coherence reduced the average frame update time to about one quarter of the original time for three test sequences of CSG modeling operations.
Date of Publication: Sept. 1987