Space Partitioning for Tessellation

Tessellation - the process of converting implicit primitives into NMG and triangle representations - is fundamental to most of BRL-CAD's converters and techniques for interactive shaded displays.

BRL-CAD's tessellation logic operates using boolean tree structures and primitive tessellations - for a given geometric tree, primitives (leaf nodes in the tree) are tessellated, and the results of those tessellations are merged to form the combination above them. Then those results are in turn merged to form higher level tessellations, until either the top of the tree is reached or a stopping point (like a region designation on a combination) is reached.

Unfortunately, current methods of merging meshes do not take into account geometric proximity - which parts of various meshes need to be considered for merging and which parts can be safely ignored for a given merge. This tends to result in a great deal of unnecessary work, slowing conversions.

Proposals for this task should outline partitioning strategies as well as testing methods - before-and-after timing for tessellation performance and quality testing of resulting geometry are key benchmarks to track.


  • src/libgcv
  • src/librt/primitives/**
    • each primitive is in a subdirectory with an rt_*_tess() function defined that performs tessellation
    • the rt_*_prep() routine calculates the bounding box, ideal candidate to be broken out into a separate callback which could be useful during space partitioning
  • src/conv
    • just about every converter performs boolean evaluation on tessellated geometry


  • Familiarity with C