flat curve geometry with linear basis

  flat curve geometry with cubic Bézier basis

  flat curve geometry with cubic B-spline basis

  flat curve geometry with cubic Hermite basis

  flat curve geometry with Catmull-Rom basis

  flat normal oriented curve geometry with cubic Bézier basis

  flat normal oriented curve geometry with cubic B-spline basis

  flat normal oriented curve geometry with cubic Hermite basis

  flat normal oriented curve geometry with Catmull-Rom basis

  capped cone curve geometry with linear basis - discontinous at edge boundaries

  capped cone curve geometry with linear basis and spherical ending

  swept surface curve geometry with cubic Bézier basis

  swept surface curve geometry with cubic B-spline basis

  swept surface curve geometry with cubic Hermite basis

  swept surface curve geometry with Catmull-Rom basis


#include <embree3/rtcore.h>



Curves with per vertex radii are supported with linear, cubic Bézier, cubic B-spline, and cubic Hermite bases. Such curve geometries are created by passing RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_FLAT_LINEAR_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_FLAT_BEZIER_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_FLAT_BSPLINE_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_FLAT_HERMITE_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_FLAT_CATMULL_ROM_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_NORMAL_ORIENTED_FLAT_BEZIER_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_NORMAL_ORIENTED_FLAT_BSPLINE_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_NORMAL_ORIENTED_FLAT_HERMITE_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_NORMAL_ORIENTED_FLAT_CATMULL_ROM_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_CONE_LINEAR_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_ROUND_LINEAR_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_ROUND_BEZIER_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_ROUND_BSPLINE_CURVE, RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_ROUND_HERMITE_CURVE, or RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_ROUND_CATMULL_ROM_CURVE to the rtcNewGeometry function. The curve indices can be specified through an index buffer (RTC_BUFFER_TYPE_INDEX) and the curve vertices through a vertex buffer (RTC_BUFFER_TYPE_VERTEX). For the Hermite basis a tangent buffer (RTC_BUFFER_TYPE_TANGENT), normal oriented curves a normal buffer (RTC_BUFFER_TYPE_NORMAL), and for normal oriented Hermite curves a normal derivative buffer (RTC_BUFFER_TYPE_NORMAL_DERIVATIVE) has to get specified additionally. See rtcSetGeometryBuffer and rtcSetSharedGeometryBuffer for more details on how to set buffers.

The index buffer contains an array of 32-bit indices (RTC_FORMAT_UINT format), each pointing to the first control vertex in the vertex buffer, but also to the first tangent in the tangent buffer, and first normal in the normal buffer if these buffers are present.

The vertex buffer stores each control vertex in the form of a single precision position and radius stored in (x, y, z, r) order in memory (RTC_FORMAT_FLOAT4 format). The number of vertices is inferred from the size of this buffer. The radii may be smaller than zero but the interpolated radii should always be greater or equal to zero. Similarly, the tangent buffer stores the derivative of each control vertex (x, y, z, r order and RTC_FORMAT_FLOAT4 format) and the normal buffer stores a single precision normal per control vertex (x, y, z order and RTC_FORMAT_FLOAT3 format).

Linear Basis

For the linear basis the indices point to the first of 2 consecutive control points in the vertex buffer. The first control point is the start and the second control point the end of the line segment. When constructing hair strands in this basis, the end-point can be shared with the start of the next line segment.

For the linear basis the user optionally can provide a flags buffer of type RTC_BUFFER_TYPE_FLAGS which contains bytes that encode if the left neighbor segment (RTC_CURVE_FLAG_NEIGHBOR_LEFT flag) and/or right neighbor segment (RTC_CURVE_FLAG_NEIGHBOR_RIGHT flags) exist (see [RTCCurveFlags]). If this buffer is not set, than the left/right neighbor bits are automatically calculated base on the index buffer (left segment exists if segment(id-1)+1 == segment(id) and right segment exists if segment(id+1)-1 == segment(id)).

A left neighbor segment is assumed to end at the start vertex of the current segement, and to start at the previous vertex in the vertex buffer. Similarly, the right neighbor segment is assumed to start at the end vertex of the current segment, and to end at the next vertex in the vertex buffer.

Only when the left and right bits are properly specified the current segment can properly attach to the left and/or right neighbor, otherwise the touching area may not get rendererd properly.

Bézier Basis

For the cubic Bézier basis the indices point to the first of 4 consecutive control points in the vertex buffer. These control points use the cubic Bézier basis, where the first control point represents the start point of the curve, and the 4th control point the end point of the curve. The Bézier basis is interpolating, thus the curve does go exactly through the first and fourth control vertex.

B-spline Basis

For the cubic B-spline basis the indices point to the first of 4 consecutive control points in the vertex buffer. These control points make up a cardinal cubic B-spline (implicit equidistant knot vector). This basis is not interpolating, thus the curve does in general not go through any of the control points directly. A big advantage of this basis is that 3 control points can be shared for two continuous neighboring curve segments, e.g. the curves (p0,p1,p2,p3) and (p1,p2,p3,p4) are C1 continuous. This feature make this basis a good choise to construct continuous multi-segment curves, as memory consumption can be kept minimal.

Hermite Basis

For the cubic Hermite basis the indices point to the first of 2 consecutive points in the vertex buffer, and the first of 2 consecutive tangents in the tangent buffer. These two points and two tangents make up a cubic Hermite curve. This basis is interpolating, thus does exactly go through the first and second control point, and the first order derivative at the begin and end matches exactly the value specified in the tangent buffer. When connecting two segments continuously, the end point and tangent of the previous segment can be shared. Different versions of Catmull-Rom splines can be easily constructed usig the Hermite basis, by calculating a proper tangent buffer from the control points.

Catmull-Rom Basis

For the Catmull-Rom basis the indices point to the first of 4 consecutive control points in the vertex buffer. This basis goes through p1 and p2, with tangents (p2-p0)/2 and (p3-p1)/2.

Flat Curves

The RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_FLAT_* flat mode is a fast mode designed to render distant hair. In this mode the curve is rendered as a connected sequence of ray facing quads. Individual quads are considered to have subpixel size, and zooming onto the curve might show geometric artifacts. The number of quads to subdivide into can be specified through the rtcSetGeometryTessellationRate function. By default the tessellation rate is 4.

Normal Oriented Curves

The RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_NORMAL_ORIENTED_* mode is a mode designed to render blades of grass. In this mode a vertex spline has to get specified as for the previous modes, but additionally a normal spline is required. If the Hermite basis is used, the RTC_BUFFER_TYPE_NORMAL and RTC_BUFFER_TYPE_NORMAL_DERIVATIVE buffers have both to be set.

The curve is rendered as a flat band whose center approximately follows the provided vertex spline, whose half width approximately follows the provided radius spline, and whose normal orientation approximately follows the provided normal spline.

To intersect the normal oriented curve, we perform a newton-raphson style intersection of a ray with a tensor product surface of a linear basis (perpendicular to the curve) and cubic Bézier basis (along the curve). We use a guide curve and its derivatives to construct the control points of that surface. The guide curve is defined by a sweep surface defined by sweeping a line centered at the vertex spline location along the curve. At each parameter value the half width of the line matches the radius spline, and the direction matches the cross product of the normal from the normal spline and tangent of the vertex spline. Note that this construction does not work when the provided normals are parallel to the curve direction. For this reason the provided normals should best be kept as perpendicular to the curve direction as possible.

Round Curves

In the RTC_GEOMETRY_TYPE_ROUND_* round mode, a real geometric surface is rendered for the curve, which is more expensive but allows closeup views.

For the linear basis the round mode renders a cone that tangentially touches a start-sphere and end-sphere. The start sphere is rendered when no previous segments is indicated by the neighbor bits. The end sphere is always rendered but parts that lie inside the next segment are clipped away (if that next segment exists). This way a curve is closed on both ends and the interiour will render properly as long as only neighboring segments penetrate into a segment. For this to work properly it is important that the flags buffer is properly populated with neighbor information.

For the cubic polynomial bases, the round mode renders a sweep surface by sweeping a varying radius circle tangential along the curve. As a limitation, the radius of the curve has to be smaller than the curvature radius of the curve at each location on the curve.

The intersection with the curve segment stores the parametric hit location along the curve segment as u-coordinate (range 0 to +1).

For flat curves, the v-coordinate is set to the normalized distance in the range -1 to +1. For normal oriented curves the v-coordinate is in the range 0 to 1. For the linear basis and in round mode the v-coordinate is set to zero.

In flat mode, the geometry normal Ng is set to the tangent of the curve at the hit location. In round mode and for normal oriented curves, the geometry normal Ng is set to the non-normalized geometric normal of the surface.

For multi-segment motion blur, the number of time steps must be first specified using the rtcSetGeometryTimeStepCount call. Then a vertex buffer for each time step can be set using different buffer slots, and all these buffers must have the same stride and size. For the Hermite basis also a tangent buffer has to be set for each time step and for normal oriented curves a normal buffer has to get specified for each time step.

Also see tutorials [Hair] and [Curves] for examples of how to create and use curve geometries.


On failure NULL is returned and an error code is set that can be queried using rtcGetDeviceError.


[rtcNewGeometry], [RTCCurveFlags]


Embree Ray Tracing Kernels 3