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flaXen

Calculate surface normal?

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Is there a function in DirectX8 to calculate the surface normal for a polygon? The only one I can find works for models only.

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There''s no function to do it, but the formula to calculate the normal of a polygon is pretty simple: Normal = Crossproduct of V and W, where V is a vector representing one side of the polygon and W is a vector representing another side.

Calculating surface normals at each vertex is a little more complex and involves averaging normalised polygon normals for each polygon the vertex is a part of.


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Just to clarify, if you have a triangle composed of points represented by vectors a,b,c, then you need to get 2 edges of the triangle (p,q) by:

p=b-a;
q=c-a;

Then take the Cross Product:

n = p cross q;

Then normalize the vector (if you need a unit vector):

normalize ( n );

This gives you the unit vector normal to the surface of the triangle.

If you want the vertex normal of a given vertex just sum up the triangle face normals of every triangle surrounding the given vertex, average them, and normalize the result.


for each vertex
{
vertex_normal = 0,0,0;
number_of_surrounding_faces = 0;
for each triangle
{
if vertex is part of triangle
{
vertex_normal += triangle_normal;
number_of_surrounding_faces++;
}
}
vertex_normal /= number_of_surrounding_faces;
normalize ( vertex_normal );
}


Forgive the pseudo code, since I am at home for Thanksgiving without my computer. Of course if you are using the IDirect3dMesh class, it can do the vertex normal calculations for you.

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