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An algorithm for polygon subdivision based on vertex normals

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2 Author(s)
Van Overveld, C.W.A.M. ; Dept. of Math. & Comput. Sci., Eindhoven Univ. of Technol., Netherlands ; Wyvill, B.

In order to achieve the impression of a smooth surface while rendering a polygon mesh, normal vector vectors may be provided in the vertices of the mesh that are the average of the surface normals of the adjacent polygons. Interpolation of these normal vectors while rendering of the polygons in the mesh, and using the interpolated normal vectors in the shading computations, yields a smoothly varying intensity distribution. There is an inherent mismatch, however, between the smoothness of the shading thus achieved and the non-smoothness of the geometry which is particularly visible at silhouettes, showing as straight edges and non-smooth edge junctions at the silhouette vertices. A remedy for these artefacts is suggested. The remedy consists of subdividing each input polygon into a mesh of polygons prior to rendering. The shape of this resulting polygon mesh is controlled by the normal vectors that are provided in the vertices of the original polygon, unlike other subdivision schemes that make use of adjacent polygons. With the method, polygons equipped with vertex normal vectors can therefore be processed without further knowledge of neighbour polygons. This makes the method well-suited in the context of graphics libraries, such as OpenGl, that treat polygons typically on a per-polygon basis. So the proposed computation of the mesh which replaces the original polygon can be viewed as a filter which may operate as a process in front of a traditional polygon rendering pipeline.

Published in:

Computer Graphics International, 1997. Proceedings

Date of Conference:

23-27 June 1997