(Nisual
A n/p Iter
2D line and polygon
clipping based on
space subdivision
Mel Slater* and Brian A. Barsky
Computer Science Division
Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
This paper introduces a new approach to
2D line and polygon clipping against
a rectangular clipping region, using space
subdivision into cells, with the clipping
region as the central cell. The line segment
path is traced through the cells, and en
tries into and out of the cell corresponding
to the clipping region enable computation
of the intersection of the line segment with
crossed cell edges. Tracing the line seg
ment path is computationally very simple,
leading to an algorithm that only com
putes intersections that are part of the
clipped line segment. The new algorithm
is compared to other standard line clip
ping algorithms with simulations and op
eration counts.
Key words: Clipping  Line segment clip
ping 
Polgon clipping 
Computer
graphics
M. Slater on leave from Department of Computer
Science, QMW University of London, Mile End Road,
London El 4NS, UK
Correspondence to:
M. Slater
Introduction
Clipping is a fundamental stage in the viewing
pipeline of computer graphics. It involves com
puting that part of a geometric primitive, such as
a line segment or polygon, that is visible with
respect to a clipping region. The simplest case
occurs in 2D graphics where the clipping region is
rectangular, and the primitive is a line segment.
The major application is computing the part of
a scene visible with respect to a window. Clipping
is also often used for "pick input", that is deter
mining whether the cursor position is within
a given tolerance of a geometric primitive, by
testing the visibility of the primitive against
a small rectangle which has the cursor position at
its centre.
There are three major approaches to the solution
of the clipping problem. The first, known as the
CohenSutherland (CS) algorithm (Newman and
Sproull 1979; Foley et al. 1990) uses a coding
scheme of the line endpoints to reject quickly lines
having both endpoints outside a particular clip
ping boundary, and accept quickly lines totally
inside the clipping region. In other cases the line
segment is truncated by intersecting it with one of
the boundaries that it is known to cross, and the
procedure is repeated with the truncated line. The
second approach, parametric clipping, was intro
duced by Cyrus and Beck (1978) and by Liang and
Barsky (1984) where the line segment is repres
ented in parametric form, as shown in, for
example, Eq. (1).
x(t) = xl + t(x2
 Xa)
y(t) = y~ + t(y2  Yl)
(0 < t < 1)
(1)
In the case of the LiangBarsky algorithm (LB),
the values of the parameter t corresponding to the
points where the extended line segment intersects
the clipping boundaries are used to find the clip
ped line segment. Initially these values are 0 and l,
corresponding to the line endpoints, but are suc
cessively "squeezed down" by intersecting with
the boundary lines.
CS necessitates computing intersection points
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 Spring '10
 ch
 Computer Graphics, Line segment, Line clipping, lgorithm

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