“GRAPE: An environment to build display processes” by Nadas and Fournier

  • ©Tom Nadas and Alain Fournier




    GRAPE: An environment to build display processes



    New modelling primitives and new rendering techniques are appearing at a rapid rate. To be able to implement and evaluate them easily, we need a very flexible display environment. We describe an environment which allows experimenting both with the basic modelling and rendering operations and with the process structure of the display system.The desired operations are implemented in nodes, coded in a traditional programming language, which can then be structured into arbitrary directed acyclic graphs. These nodes are all “plug compatible”, and pass streams of appels, which are generalized pixels, that is data structures containing information necessary for pixel evaluation. In addition, synchronization parameters are used to allow the expansion or the reduction of the stream of appels.This approach allows the assembly of new display systems from existing modules without coding, making it easy to experiment with different architectures and display processes. Algorithm designers are also able to test an algorithm at any point of the display process with a minimum of new coding.We describe an implementation of the scheme with a library of nodes written in C and the assembly of the graphs made through the use of the directory manipulation tools provided under UNIX™. We give examples of the uses of the implementation to build basic nodes, variations in compositing and texture mapping and special-purpose display systems.


    1. Agerwala, T. and Arvind, “Data Flow Systems”, Computer, Volume 15, Number 2, February 1982, pp. 10-13.
    2. Blythe, D., Kitamura, J., Galloway, D. and Snelgrove, M,, “Virtual Patch-Cords for the Katosizer”, Proceedings of the 1986 International Computer Music Conference, October 1986, pp. 359-364.
    3. Cook, R. L., Carpenter, L. and Catmuil, E., “‘The Reyes Image Rendering Architecture”, These Proceedings.
    4. Cook, R. L., “Shade Trees,” Computer Graphics. Volume 18, Number 3, July 1984, pp. 223-231.
    5. Crow, F. C., “‘A More Flexible Image Generation Environment,” Computer Graphics. Volume 16, Number 3, July 1982, pp. 9-18.
    6. Duff, T., The Soid and Roid Manual, NYIT Computer Graphics Laboratory internal memorandum, 1980.
    7. Duff, T., “Compositing 3-D Rendered Images,” Computer Graphics, Volume 19, Number 3, July 1985, pp. 41-44.
    8. Gouraud, H., “Continuous Shading of Curved Surfaces,” IEEE Transactions on Computers, Volume 20, Number 6, June 1971, pp. 623-629.
    9. Greene, N. and Heckbert, P. S., “Creating Raster Omnimax Images from Multiple Perspective Views Using Elliptical Weighted Average Filter,” IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Volume 6, Number 6, June 1986, pp. 21-27.
    10. Haeberli, P. “A Data Flow Manager for an Interactive Programming Environment”, Proceedings of USENIX Summer Conference, Atlanta, GA, 1986.
    11. Hall, R. A. and D. P. Greenberg, “A Testbed for Realistic Image Synthesis,” 1EEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Volume 3, Number 11, November 1983, pp. 10-20.
    12. Hedelman, H., -A Data Flow Approach to Procedural Modeling”, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Volume 4, Number 1, January 1984, pp. 16-26.
    13. Nadas, T. P., The Computation of Appearance Elements, M. Sc. Thesis, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Toronto, 1986.
    14. Paeth, A. W. and K. S. Booth, “Design and Experience with a Generalized Raster Toolkit,” Graphics Interface 1986 Proceedings, May 1986, pp. 91-97.
    15. Perlin, K., “Art Image Synthesizer,” Computer Graphics. Volume 19, Number 3, July 1985, pp. 287-296.
    16. Bui-Tuong Phong, “illumination for Computer Generated Pictures,” Communications of the ACM, Volume 18, Number 6, June 1975, pp. 311-317.
    17. Porter, T. and T. Duff, “‘Compositing Digital Images,” Computer Graphics. Volume 18, Number 3, July 1984, pp. 253- 259.
    18. Potmesil, M. and Hoffert. E. M., “‘FRAMES: Software Tools for Modeling, Rendering and Animation of 3D Scenes”, These Proceedings.
    19. Robinson, J. and S. Zimmerman, “Exploiting Texture in an Integrated Training Environment”, CIG Technical Report, Evans & Sutherland, 1984.
    20. Reeves, W. T. Salesin, D. H. and Cook, R. L., “Shadowing with Texture Maps”, These Proceedings.
    21. Whitted, T. and D. M. Weimer, “A Software Testbed for the Development of 3D Raster Graphics Systems,” ACM Transactions on Graphics. Volume 1, Number 1, January 1982, pp. 43-58.

ACM Digital Library Publication: