Triangles

Triangles

All 3D models are made from triangles.

All 3D Models, no matter what shape, size or complexity, are made entirely using triangles, which are the fundamental building block for any 3D object or shape.

For example, a square is made using 4 points and 2 triangles, a cube is made using 8 points and 12 triangles. A sphere is made from many triangles. The more triangles in the sphere, the smoother it appears.

Triangles are the "food" for all 3D drawing. This includes your PC, Sony PlayStation 3, XBox 360, Wii, PSP and DS systems... they are all triangle drawing machines, designed to draw millions of triangles per second.

The favourite "food" for any modern 3D system is the "triangle strip". This is the most efficient way to draw a set of triangles. Early 3D systems could only draw individual triangles, one at a time. The PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 could draw triangles and triangle pairs (called "quads"). All modern 3D systems prefer to draw using "triangle strips".

Triangle drawing methods

For example, to draw 6 individual triangles requires 6 x 3 = 18 points... and each point has a cost in processing time. To draw 6 triangles using a "triangle strip" requires only 8 points. This is more than 2 times faster than drawing individual triangles.

In video games, which draw the entire screen 30 to 60 times every second, efficiency is extremely important for high performance. As such, game developers want all 3D models to use triangle strips.

3D Kit Builder

To show triangle outlines or "wireframe" in our example 3D Kit Builder model use the following Display options which are available when you finish building your 3D model kit:

Display EffectSetting

Wireframe

ON

Texture (Paint)

OFF

Transparency

ON

Lighting

OFF

Lighting Normals

OFF

Reflection

OFF

Mirroring

ON

Points

OFF

Triangles

ON

Lines

OFF

Wireframe view shows the outline of each triangle

Further Reading



Triangle
(Geometry)


Polygonal Modeling



Back Face Culling


32bit Color

Next Topic



Points


Lines