The Bézier tangential surface system: A robust dual representation of tangent space

Academic Article


  • This paper develops a robust dual representation for the tangent space of a rational surface. This dual representation of tangent space is a very useful tool for visibility analysis. Visibility constructs that are directly derivable from the dual representation of this paper include silhouettes, bitangent developables and kernels. It is known that the tangent space of a surface can be represented by a surface in dual space, which we call a tangential surface. Unfortunately, a tangential surface is usually infinite. Therefore, for robust computation, the points at infinity must be clipped from a tangential surface. This clipping requires two complementary refinements, the first to allow clipping and the second to do the clipping. First, three cooperating tangential surfaces are used to model the entire tangent space robustly, each defined within a box. Second, the points at infinity on each tangential surface are clipped away while preserving everything that lies within the box. This clipping only involves subdivision along isoparametric curves, a considerably simpler process than exact trimming to the box. The isoparametric values for this clipping are computed as local extrema from an analysis using Sederberg's piecewise algebraic curves. A construction of the tangential surface of a parametric surface is outlined, and it is shown how the tangential surface of a Bézier surface can be expressed as a rational Bézier surface.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Computing  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Johnstone JK
  • Start Page

  • 105
  • End Page

  • 115
  • Volume

  • 72
  • Issue

  • 1-2