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A developer's guide to silhouette algorithms for polygonal models

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5 Author(s)
Isenberg, T. ; Dept. of Simulation & Graphics, Otto-von-Guericke Univ. of Magdeburg, Germany ; Freudenberg, B. ; Halper, N. ; Schlechtweg, S.
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Silhouettes play an important role in shape recognition because they provide one of the main cues for figure-to-ground distinction. However, since silhouettes are view dependent, they need to be determined for every frame of an animation. Finding an efficient way to accomplish this is nontrivial. Indeed, a variety of different algorithms exist that compute silhouettes for geometric objects. This article provides a guideline for developers who need to choose between one of these algorithms for his or her application. We restrict ourselves to discussing only those algorithms that apply to polygonal models, because these are the most commonly used object representations in modern computer graphics. Thus, we can use all algorithms discussed to take a polygonal mesh as input and compute the visible part of the silhouette as output. Some algorithms, however, can also help compute the silhouette only, without additional visibility culling. The silhouette's representation might vary depending on the algorithm class - that is, the silhouette might take the form of a pixel matrix or a set of analytic stroke descriptions.

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 4 )