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Notes on the 3-D Animation Example

The sample program transforms the polygon’s vertices from object space to world space to view space to the screen, as described earlier. In this case, world space and view space are congruent—we’re looking right down the negative Z axis of world space—so the transformation matrix from world to view is the identity matrix; you might want to experiment with changing this matrix to change the viewpoint. The sample program uses 4×4 homogeneous coordinate matrices to perform transformations, as described above. Floating-point arithmetic is used for all 3-D calculations. Setting the translation from object space to world space is a simple matter of changing the appropriate entry in the fourth column of the object-to-world transformation matrix. Setting the rotation around the Y axis is almost as simple, requiring only the setting of the four matrix entries that control the Y rotation to the sines and cosines of the desired rotation. However, rotations involving more than one axis require multiple rotation matrices, one for each axis rotated around; those matrices are then concatenated together to produce the object-to-world transformation. This area is trickier than it might initially appear to be; more in the near future.

The maximum translation along the Z axis is limited to -40; this keeps the polygon from extending past the viewpoint to positive Z coordinates. This would wreak havoc with the projection and 2-D clipping, and would require 3-D clipping, which is far more complicated than 2-D. We’ll get to 3-D clipping at some point, but, for now, it’s much simpler just to limit all vertices to negative Z coordinates. The polygon does get mighty close to the viewpoint, though; run the program and use the “T” key to move the polygon as close as possible—the near vertex swinging past provides a striking sense of perspective.

The performance of Listing 50.5 is, perhaps, surprisingly good, clocking in at 16 frames per second on a 20 MHz 386 with a VGA of average speed and no 387, although there is, of course, only one polygon being drawn, rather than the hundreds or thousands we’d ultimately like. What’s far more interesting is where the execution time goes. Even though the program is working with only one polygon, 73 percent of the time goes for transformation and projection. An additional 7 percent is spent waiting to flip the screen. Only 20 percent of the total time is spent in all other activity—and only 2 percent is spent actually drawing polygons. Clearly, we’ll want to tackle transformation and projection first when we look to speed things up. (Note, however, that a math coprocessor would considerably decrease the time taken by floating-point calculations.)

In Listing 50.3, when the extent of the bounding rectangle is calculated for later erasure purposes, that extent is clipped to the screen. This is due to the lack of clipping in the rectangle fill code from Listing 47.5 in Chapter 47; the problem would more appropriately be addressed by putting clipping into the fill code, but, unfortunately, I lack the space to do that here.

Finally, observe the jaggies crawling along the edges of the polygon as it rotates. This is temporal aliasing at its finest! We won’t address antialiasing further, realtime antialiasing being decidedly nontrivial, but this should give you an idea of why antialiasing is so desirable.

An Ongoing Journey

In the next chapter, we’ll assign fronts and backs to polygons, and start drawing only those that are facing the viewer. That will enable us to handle convex polyhedrons, such as tetrahedrons and cubes. We’ll also look at interactively controllable rotation, and at more complex rotations than the simple rotation around the Y axis that we did this time. In time, we’ll use fixed-point arithmetic to speed things up, and do some shading and texture mapping. The journey has only begun; we’ll get to all that and more soon.

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Graphics Programming Black Book © 2001 Michael Abrash