Vertex Post-Processing

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Vertex Post-Processing is the stage in the OpenGL Rendering Pipeline where the vertex outputs of the Vertex Processing undergo a variety of operations. Many of these are setup for Primitive Assembly and Rasterization stages.

Transform Feedback


Primitives generated by previous stages are collected and then clipped to the view volume. Each vertex has a clip-space position (the gl_Position​ output of the last Vertex Processing stage). The viewing volume for a vertex is defined by:

{\begin{aligned}-w_{c}&\leq x_{c}&\leq w_{c}\\-w_{c}&\leq y_{c}&\leq w_{c}\\-w_{c}&\leq z_{c}&\leq w_{c}\end{aligned}}

This volume can be modified by depth clamping as well as the addition of user-defined clip-planes. The total volume that primitives are clipped to, including user-defined clip planes, is the clipping volume.

The way primitives are clipped to this clipping volume depends on the basic Primitive type:

Points are not really "clipped". If a point is in any way outside of the clipping volume, then the primitive is discarded (ie: not rendered). Points can be bigger than one pixel, but the clipping remains; if the center of the point (the actual gl_Position​ value) is outside of the clipping range, it is discarded. Yes, this means that point sprites will disappear when the center moves off-screen.
Platform Issue (NVIDIA): These cards will not clip points "properly". That is, they will do what people generally want (only discard the point if it is fully off-screen), rather than what the OpenGL specification requires. Be advised that other hardware does what OpenGL asks.
If the line is entirely outside of the volume, it is discarded. If the line is partially outside of the volume, then it is clipped; new vertex coordinates are computed for one or both vertices, as appropriate. The end-point of such a clipped vertex is on the boundary of the clipping volume.
A triangle is clipped to the viewing volume by generating appropriate triangles who's vertices are on the boundary of the clipping volume. This may generate more than 1 triangle, as appropriate. If a triangle is entirely outside of the viewing volume, it is culled.

When primitives are clipped, new per-vertex outputs must be generated for them. These are generated via linear interpolation (in clip-space) of the output values. Flat-shaded outputs don't get this treatment.

Depth clamping

The clipping behavior against the Z position of a vertex (ie: -w_{c}\leq z_{c}\leq w_{c}) can be turned off by activating depth clamping. This is done with glEnable(GL_DEPTH_CLAMP). This will cause the clip-space Z to remain unclipped by the front and rear viewing volume.

Note: With perspective projections, you still get clipping with the sides of the viewing volume. Depth clamping turns a frustum into a pyramid. So objects that go behind the camera are still clipped; it's just objects between the projection near-plane and the camera who's clipping is turned off.

The Z value computations will proceed as normal through the pipeline. After computing the window-space position, the resulting Z value will be clamped to the glDepthRange.

Clip planes

Perspective divide

The clip-space positions returned from the clipping stage are transformed into normalized device coordinates (NDC) via this equation:

{\begin{pmatrix}x_{{ndc}}\\y_{{ndc}}\\z_{{ndc}}\end{pmatrix}}={\begin{pmatrix}{\tfrac  {x_{c}}{w_{c}}}\\{\tfrac  {y_{c}}{w_{c}}}\\{\tfrac  {z_{c}}{w_{c}}}\end{pmatrix}}

Viewport transform

See also

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