Lecture 11 - Spline curves (notes)

# Lecture 11 - Spline curves (notes) - Lecture 11...

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Lecture 11: Introduction to Spline Curves Splines are used in graphics to represent smooth curves and surfaces. They use a small set of control points (knots) and a function that generates a curve through those points. This allows the creation of complex smooth shapes without the need for manipulating many short line segments or polygons at the cost of a little extra computation time when the objects of a scene are being designed. We will start with a simple, but not very useful spline. Taking the equation y = f ( x ) , we can express f as a polynomial function, say: y = a 2 x 2 + a 1 x + a 0 Let us choose any three points P 0 , P 1 and P 2 at coordinates ( x 0 , y 0 ) , ( x 1 , y 1 ) and ( x 2 , y 2 ) . We can substitute each set of coordinates into the equation to get three simultaneous equations which we can solve for the un- knowns a 2 , a 1 and a 0 . We now have the equation of a curve that interpolates (passes through) the three chosen points. It is of course a parabola, or parabolic spline. Notice that we don’t have any control over the curve. There is only one parabola that will fit the data as shown in Figure 1. P 0 P 1 P 2 y = a 2 x 2 + a 1 x + a 0 Figure 1: A non-parametric spline Parametric Splines We can improve our choice by using a parametric spline. Let us consider first a quadratic polynomial spline written in vector notation as. P = a 2 μ 2 + a 1 μ + a 0 (1) This equation gives the vector location of a point P in terms of constant vectors a 0 , a 1 and a 2 and a scalar parameter μ . The locations of a 0 , a 1 and a 2 determine the shape of the spline. For two dimensional curves we now therefore have six unknowns (rather than the three in the parabola above). We can use these extra degrees of freedom to control the shape of the curve. We will use the convention that 0 μ 1 over the range of interest. Hence at μ = 0 the curve is at the first point to be interpolated, and at μ = 1 it is at the last. Now consider interpolating the same three points as before: ( P 0 , P 1 and P 2 at ( x 0 , y 0 ) , ( x 1 , y 1 ) and ( x 2 , y 2 ) ). When μ = 0 , the curve passes through the first point, say P 0 , and so, substituting μ = 0 into Equation 1, we can write P 0 = a 0 . Similarly, when μ = 1 the point passes through the last point, say P 2 , and this gives us the equation: P 2 = a 2 + a 1 + a 0 , substituting for a 0 we get P 2 - P 0 = a 2 + a 1 . (2) We have now met all the conditions except for the requirement that the curve must pass through P 1 . We can choose μ anywhere in the range 0 < μ < 1 , and get a third equation to solve for the curve parameters. In other words we can now pick one of a whole family of different curves: Each one will interpolate the three points and have its own particular value of μ that we can choose for P 1 . For example, choosing μ = 1 / 2 in Equation 1 and substituting P 0 for a 0 , we get P 1 - P 0 = a 2 / 4 + a 1 / 2 (3) Interactive Computer Graphics Lecture 11 1

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We can now solve equations 2 and 3 and find the values of a 1 and a 2 . We can then draw the curve, for this choice of μ at P 1 , as shown on the left in Figure 2. Further possible curves using the same three points and
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• Spring '14
• Bezier Curves

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