Planar Geometric Projections and Viewing Transformations
Program in Computer Science, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912
Computervision Corporation, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730Illustrated by Thomas K. Stat, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
In computer graphics one is often concerned with representing three-dimensional objectson a two-dimensional display surface. The choice of such a
onseveral factors, including the purpose for which the representation is intended, the visualeffects that are desired, and the shape of the object. This paper describes how two-dimensional views can be obtained using planar geometric projections such as perspectiveand parallel projections. It discusses how these projections can be generated from a three-dimensional representation of an object in a manner suitable for computer graphics systems.In particular, it shows how these projections can be generated using the viewing transfor-mations of the Core Graphics System. The factors that affect the choice of projection arealso discussed, and some guidelines for making such a choice are given.
Keywords and Phrases:
computer graphics, viewing transformations, descriptive geometry,engineering drawing, architectural drawing, planar geometric projections, perspective pro-jections, parallel projections.
1.3, 3.20, 3.41, 5.0, 8.2
In computer graphics one is often con-cerned with representing three-dimensionalobjects on a two-dimensional display sur-face. Such a representation may attempteither to show the general appearance of anobject, as in a photograph, or to depict theobject so that its metric properties such asdistances and angles can easily be derived.These methods of representation, as well asthe representations themselves, are knownas projections.To produce a two-dimensional view of anobject, each point of the object must bemapped onto a plane. The kind of mappingthat is used distinguishes the types of pro-jection and the resulting visual effects. Thispaper describes how two-dimensional pro-jections can be generated from a three-di-mensional representation of an object, and
the visual advantages and disad-vantages of the various types ef projections.This paper also illustrates how these pro-jections can be generated with the viewingtransformations in the Core Graphics Sys-tem [GSPC77, BERG78].The projections treated in this paper areknown as planar geometric projections. Aplanar geometric projection of an object isobtained by passing lines called projectors,one through each point of the object, andfinding the image formed by the intersec-tions of these projectors with a plane ofprojection. The projectors emanate from asingle point called the center of projection.When this point is finite, a perspective pro-jection is obtained. When it is at infinity,that is, when the projectors are all parallel,a parallel projection is obtained. A
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