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Many graphics and visualization applications require fast rendering and animation of finely detailed objects constructed of what I call atomic primitives. A primitive is a basic graphics shape - such as a line or triangle - that is scan-converted into a frame buffer. An atomic primitive is a very small primitive. I introduce new approaches in graphics pipeline hardware design that can speed up the rendering of these atomic primitives. Graphics hardware benchmarks and performance competitions often use polygon-fill rates as their efficiency and capability indicators. Improving polygon-rendering efficiencies can significantly advance the whole graphics research and application area. In graphics, many 3D graphics models are filled triangle meshes, thus, triangle rendering is an important special case of polygon rendering, and a small triangle is a special-case atomic-primitive. Based on our line statistics research, about 88 percent of triangles have edges, every one of which is shorter than 17 pixels. Thus, trying to improve the speed it takes to render small triangles makes good sense.
Date of Publication: May-June 2003