Tips/tricks related to Computer Graphics, GPUs and other programming

BezierView using WebGL

My lab (SurfLab) manages a program called BezierView which is used for rendering different kinds of Bezier surfaces (triangular, tensor-product, rational, etc.). BezierView has not been updated for a few years, so me and a few other colleagues decided to update the program using WebGL instead.

Now instead of downloading BezierView to your own computer and running a .exe file, you can just run it online through a webpage. You can find the still-being-updated version here. For now you can view tensor-product, triangular and rational patches along with polyhedra. It is being currently updated to include a better interface and to have support for all types.

There are some shortcomings to writing BezierView in WebGL – the most obvious one is that Javascript is much slower compared to C/C++. And the online version cannot handle huge files which the offline version can. And since WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0, we cannot take advantage of the tessellator engine in modern graphics cards to evaluate parametric patches on the GPU (which results in a significant speedup). So all the evaluation is done on the CPU and the resultant vertices sent to the GPU. I guess we’ll have to wait for OpenGL ES 4.0 (or WebCL to be finalized – a Javascript implementation of OpenCL).

BezierView was developed using the excellent Three.js library. I highly recommend using it if you are developing a WebGL application.

The source code is available on GitHub.

You can find BezierView here.


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