Chapter 2

The Graphics Rendering Pipeline

“A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.”

—Anonymous

This chapter presents the core component of real-time graphics, namely the graphics rendering pipeline, also known simply as “the pipeline.” The main function of the pipeline is to generate, or render, a two-dimensional image, given a virtual camera, three-dimensional objects, light sources, and more. The rendering pipeline is thus the underlying tool for real-time rendering. The process of using the pipeline is depicted in Figure 2.1. The locations and shapes of the objects in the image are determined by their geometry, the characteristics of the environment, and the placement of the camera in that environment. The appearance of the objects ...

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