Vector Graphics for Real-time 3D Rendering
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Algorithms are presented that enable the use of vector graphics representations of images in texture maps for 3D real time rendering. Vector graphics images are resolution independent and can be zoomed arbitrarily without losing detail or crispness. Many important types of images, including text and other symbolic information, are best represented in vector form. Vector graphics textures can also be used as transparency mattes to augment geometric detail in models via trim curves. Spline curves are used to represent boundaries around regions in standard vector graphics representations, such as PDF and SVG. Antialiased rendering of such content can be obtained by thresholding implicit representations of these curves. The distance function is an especially useful implicit representation. Accurate distance function computations would also allow the implementation of special effects such as embossing. Unfortunately, computing the true distance to higher order spline curves is too expensive for real time rendering. Therefore, normally either the distance is approximated by normalizing some other implicit representation or the spline curves are approximated with simpler primitives. In this thesis, three methods for rendering vector graphics textures in real time are introduced, based on various approximations of the distance computation. The first and simplest approach to the distance computation approximates curves with line segments. Unfortunately, approximation with line segments gives only C0 continuity. In order to improve smoothness, spline curves can also be approximated with circular arcs. This approximation has C1 continuity and computing the distance to a circular arc is only slightly more expensive than computing the distance to a line segment. Finally an iterative algorithm is discussed that has good performance in practice and can compute the distance to any parametrically differentiable curve (including polynomial splines of any order) robustly. This algorithm is demonstrated in the context of a system capable of real-time rendering of SVG content in a texture map on a GPU. Data structures and acceleration algorithms in the context of massively parallel GPU architectures are also discussed. These data structures and acceleration structures allow arbitrary vector content (with space-variant complexity, and overlapping regions) to be represented in a random-access texture.