An efficient algorithm for finding the CSG representation of a simple polygon

David Dobkin, Leonidas Guibas, John Hershberger, Jack Snoeyink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Modeling two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects is an important theme in computer graphics. Two main types of models are used in both cases: boundary representations, which represent the surface of an object explicitly but represent its interior only implicitly, and constructive solid geometry representations, which model a complex object, surface and interior together, as a boolean combination of simpler objects. Because neither representation is good for all applications, conversion between the two is often necessary. We consider the problem of converting boundary representations of polyhedral objects into constructive solid geometry (CSG) representations. The CSG representations for a polyhedron P are based on the half-spaces supporting the faces of P. For certain kinds of polyhedra this problem is equivalent to the corresponding problem for simple polygons in the plane. We give a new proof that the interior of each simple polygon can be represented by a monotone boolean formula based on the half-planes supporting the sides of the polygon and using each such half-plane only once. Our main contribution is an efficient and practical O(n log n) algorithm for doing this boundary-to-CSG conversion for a simple polygon of n sides. We also prove that such nice formulae do not always exist for general polyhedra in three dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Boundary representation
  • Computational geometry
  • Constructive solid geometry
  • Incremental convex hull
  • Monotone boolean formulae


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