21.4. Triangle Tessellation

If the tessellation primitive mode is Triangles, an equilateral triangle is subdivided into a collection of triangles covering the area of the original triangle. First, the original triangle is subdivided into a collection of concentric equilateral triangles. The edges of each of these triangles are subdivided, and the area between each triangle pair is filled by triangles produced by joining the vertices on the subdivided edges. The number of concentric triangles and the number of subdivisions along each triangle except the outermost is derived from the first inner tessellation level. The edges of the outermost triangle are subdivided independently, using the first, second, and third outer tessellation levels to control the number of subdivisions of the u = 0 (left), v = 0 (bottom), and w = 0 (right) edges, respectively. The second inner tessellation level and the fourth outer tessellation level have no effect in this mode.

If the first inner tessellation level and all three outer tessellation levels are exactly one after clamping and rounding, only a single triangle with (u,v,w) coordinates of (0,0,1), (1,0,0), and (0,1,0) is generated. If the inner tessellation level is one and any of the outer tessellation levels is greater than one, the inner tessellation level is treated as though it were originally specified as 1 + ε and will result in a two- or three-segment subdivision depending on the tessellation spacing. When used with fractional odd spacing, the three-segment subdivision may produce inner vertices positioned on the edge of the triangle.

If any tessellation level is greater than one, tessellation begins by producing a set of concentric inner triangles and subdividing their edges. First, the three outer edges are temporarily subdivided using the clamped and rounded first inner tessellation level and the specified tessellation spacing, generating n segments. For the outermost inner triangle, the inner triangle is degenerate — a single point at the center of the triangle — if n is two. Otherwise, for each corner of the outer triangle, an inner triangle corner is produced at the intersection of two lines extended perpendicular to the corner’s two adjacent edges running through the vertex of the subdivided outer edge nearest that corner. If n is three, the edges of the inner triangle are not subdivided and is the final triangle in the set of concentric triangles. Otherwise, each edge of the inner triangle is divided into n - 2 segments, with the n - 1 vertices of this subdivision produced by intersecting the inner edge with lines perpendicular to the edge running through the n - 1 innermost vertices of the subdivision of the outer edge. Once the outermost inner triangle is subdivided, the previous subdivision process repeats itself, using the generated triangle as an outer triangle. This subdivision process is illustrated in Inner Triangle Tessellation.

Figure 21.2. Inner Triangle Tessellation


Once all the concentric triangles are produced and their edges are subdivided, the area between each pair of adjacent inner triangles is filled completely with a set of non-overlapping triangles. In this subdivision, two of the three vertices of each triangle are taken from adjacent vertices on a subdivided edge of one triangle; the third is one of the vertices on the corresponding edge of the other triangle. If the innermost triangle is degenerate (i.e., a point), the triangle containing it is subdivided into six triangles by connecting each of the six vertices on that triangle with the center point. If the innermost triangle is not degenerate, that triangle is added to the set of generated triangles as-is.

After the area corresponding to any inner triangles is filled, the tessellator generates triangles to cover the area between the outermost triangle and the outermost inner triangle. To do this, the temporary subdivision of the outer triangle edge above is discarded. Instead, the u = 0, v = 0, and w = 0 edges are subdivided according to the first, second, and third outer tessellation levels, respectively, and the tessellation spacing. The original subdivision of the first inner triangle is retained. The area between the outer and first inner triangles is completely filled by non-overlapping triangles as described above. If the first (and only) inner triangle is degenerate, a set of triangles is produced by connecting each vertex on the outer triangle edges with the center point.

After all triangles are generated, each vertex in the subdivided triangle is assigned a barycentric (u,v,w) coordinate based on its location relative to the three vertices of the outer triangle.

The algorithm used to subdivide the triangular domain in (u,v,w) space into individual triangles is implementation-dependent. However, the set of triangles produced will completely cover the domain, and no portion of the domain will be covered by multiple triangles. The order in which the generated triangles passed to subsequent pipeline stages and the order of the vertices in those triangles are both implementation-dependent. However, when depicted in a manner similar to Inner Triangle Tessellation, the order of the vertices in the generated triangles will be either all clockwise or all counter-clockwise, according to the vertex order layout declaration.