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Introduction to Computer Graphics Using Java 2D and 3D Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science

Table of Contents Frontmatter 1. Introduction Abstract. This introductory Chapter provides a brief overview of the application fields of computer graphics and describes the rendering pipeline for creating an image from a model.

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Basic geometric 2D-objects like points, lines, rectangles, polygons, circles and ellipses are introduced and geometric transformations for positioning, transforming and animating these geometric objects are explained. The concept of homogeneous coordinates, crucial for carrying out geometric transformations efficiently in computer graphics, is defined for two-dimensional geometry. Interpolators are a general technique for animation in computer graphics and various examples for interpolators are illustrated in this Chapter.

A brief introduction to Java 2D is given and example programs and implementations help one to better understand the concepts and methods from a practical point of view.

Drawing lines and curves on pixel graphic devices needs special attention in computer graphics. Algorithmic aspects of drawing lines and curves, especially the midpoint or Bresenham algorithm, are highlighted in this Chapter as well techniques for antialiasing to avoid staircasing effects. Examples in Java 2D are provided for the use of the techniques.

Various additional aspects of 2D graphics are the topic of this Chapter.

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Techniques for filling areas with colours and textures are explained. Double buffering is a method that is needed for animations.

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Adding text to graphics needs is a topic of its own and the basic concepts are introduced. The transition from black-and-white to grey scale and to colour images requires the definition of colour models.

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Interpolators for colours provide an example for the use and application of a colour model. Java 2D example programs elucidate the implementation of the concepts introduced in this Chapter. Basic concepts like homogeneous coordinates, elementary geometric objects and geometric transformations that were introduced in the context of two-dimensional graphics are now extended to 3D models. Scenegraphs are an important method for modelling 3D scenes in a structured way and allow efficient computations for rendering.

Interpolators are used for simple animations in 3D scenes. Projection techniques for the representation of a 3D scene on a flat screen are described. Java 3D example programs for the introduced concepts are provided. I hope that this second edition will encourage even more readers to become in- terested in computer graphics, to understand the basic principles and to apply the concepts in their own programs.

Nowadays, any person using a personal computer benefits from the developments in computer graphics. Operating systems and application programs with graphical user interfaces GUIs belong to the simplest applications of computer graphics.

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Vi- sualisation techniques, ranging from simple histograms to dynamic 3D animations showing changes of winds or currents over time, use computer graphics in the same manner as popular computer games. Even those who do not use a personal com- puter might see the results of computer graphics on TV or in cinemas where parts of scenes or even a whole movie might be produced by computer graphics techniques.

Without powerful hardware in the form of fast processors, sufficiently large memory and special graphics cards, most of these applications would not have been possible. In addition to these hardware requirements efficient algorithms as well as programming tools that are easy to use and flexible at the time are required.

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Nowa- days, a standard personal computer is sufficient to generate impressive graphics and animations using freely available programming platforms like OpenGL or Java 3D. In addition to at least an elementary understanding of programming, the use of such platforms also requires basic knowledge about the underlying background, concepts and methods of computer graphics. Aims of the Book The aim of this book is to explain the necessary background and principles of com- puter graphics combined with direct applications in concrete and simple examples. Coupling the theory with the practical examples enables the reader to apply the technical concepts directly and to visually understand what they mean.

Java 2D and Java 3D build the basis for the practical examples.