Visibility in computer graphics

Jiří Bittner, Peter Wonka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Visibility computation was crucial for computer graphics from its very beginning. The first visibility algorithms in computer graphics aimed to determine visible surfaces in a synthesized image of a three-dimensional scene. Nowadays there are many different visibility algorithms for various visibility problems. We propose a new taxonomy of visibility problems that is based on a classification according to the problem domain. We provide a broad overview of visibility problems and algorithms in computer graphics grouped by the proposed taxonomy. We survey visible surface algorithms, visibility culling algorithms, visibility algorithms for shadow computation, global illumination, point-based and image-based rendering, and global visibility computations. Finally, we discuss common concepts of visibility algorithm design and several criteria for the classification of visibility algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-755
Number of pages27
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Planning and Design
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Environmental Science


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