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Hughes/Computer Graphics, 3/E by Steven K. Feiner, Andries van Dam, John F. Hughes, Morgan McGuire, David F. Sklar, James D. Foley, Kurt Akeley

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Chapter 14. Standard Approximations and Representations

14.1. Introduction

The real world contains too much detail for us to simulate it efficiently from first principles of physics and geometry. Mathematical models of the real world and the data structures and algorithms that implement them are always approximations. These approximations make graphics computationally tractable but introduce restrictions and error. The models and approximations are both geometric and algorithmic. For example, a ball is a simple geometric model of an orange. A simple computational model of light interaction might specify that the light passing through glass does not refract or lose energy.

In this chapter, we survey some pervasive approximations and their limitations. ...

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