Fast, practical and robust shadows


Algorithms that detect silhouettes, creases, and other edge based features often perform per-edge and per-face mesh computations using global adjacency information. These are unsuitable for hardware-pipeline implementation, where programmability is at the vertex and pixel level and only local information is available. Card and Mitchell and Gooch have suggested that adjacency information could be packed into a vertex data structure; we describe the details of converting global/per-edge computations into local/per-vertex computations on a related 'edge mesh.' Using this trick, we describe a feature-edge detection algorithm that runs entirely in hardware, and show how to use it to create thick screen-space contours with end-caps that join adjacent thick line segments. The end-cap technique favors speed over quality and produces artifacts for some meshes.We present two parameterizations for mapping stroke textures onto these thick lines---a tessellation-independent screen space method that is better suited to still images, and an object space method better suited to animation. As additional applications, we show how to create fins for fur rendering and how to extrude contours in world-space to create the sides of a shadow volume directly on the GPU.The edge mesh is about nine times larger than the original mesh when stored at 16-bit precision and is constructed through a linear time pre-processing step. As long as topology remains fixed, the edge mesh can be animated as if it were a vertex mesh.