Bounding volumes§

Performing some tests on an approximation of the shape of an object is often useful to accelerate several geometric queries. For example testing two convex polyhedrons for intersection is extremely time-consuming. Instead, we could test that their spherical approximations (namely, their bounding spheres) intersect. Then if the approximations fail this test there is no need to perform the same query on the original polyhedra. This test-on-the-approximations-first approach is known as pruning.

The approximations presented here are conservative with regard to the object volume, i.e., the approximated shape is completely contained inside of the approximating object. Those are called bounding volumes. Many bounding volumes exist on the literature, depending on their specific uses. For example, the following figure shows a 2D polygon bounded by a bounding sphere, an Axis Aligned Bounding Box (AABB), an Oriented Bounding Box (OBB), and a convex hull. Not all of them are implemented on ncollide yet:

bounding volumes

Note that bounding volumes are very different from regular shapes: their positions and orientations are completely encoded in the bounding volume structure so they do not require a separate transformation matrix to reach any position in space. All bounding volume must implement the BoundingVolume trait:

Method Description
.intersects(bv) Checks self for intersection with bv.
.contains(bv) Returns true if bv is completely inside of self.
.merge(bv) Merge self and bv in-place.
.merged(bv) Returns a bounding volume, result of the merge of self with bv.
.loosen(m) Dilates self by a ball of radius m in-place.
.loosened(m) Returns a copy of self dilated by a ball of radius m.
.tighten(m) Erodes self by a ball of radius m in-place.
.tightened(m) Returns a copy of self eroded by a ball of radius m.

The .loosen(...) and .loosened(...) (resp. .tighten(...) and .tightened(...)) methods allow you to dilate (resp. erode) the bounding volume by a given margin. This will effectively make the new bounding volume strictly larger (resp. thinner) than the original one if m is not zero. This is useful, e.g., to optimize some broad phase algorithms.

Finally, the HasBoundingVolume trait which is parametrized by the type of the returned bounding volume is implemented by shapes and other entities that can construct their own bounding volume given a transformation matrix:

Method Description
.bounding_volume(m) Computes the bounding volume of self transformed by m.

Bounding Sphere§

The BoundingSphere is a sphere that contains completely the bounded shape. While this is the less tight bounding volume, it has the benefit of being invariant with regard to isometric transformations. Thus, translating and rotating the bounded shape will not modify the radius of its bounding sphere. Bounding spheres support ray casting and point queries.

bounding sphere

It is fully defined by its center and its radius:

Method Description
.center() The bounding sphere center.
.radius() The bounding sphere radius.

Of course, the bounding sphere implements the BoundingVolume trait. The following shows the effect of the .loosen(m) and .tighten(m) methods on it:

Bounding sphere loosening Bounding sphere tightening

There are three ways to create a bounding sphere. The two main ones are to use the usual static method BoundingSphere::new(center, radius) or with the bounding_volume::bounding_sphere(g, m) function, where g and m are the shape and its position (e.g. a transformation matrix). In generic code, you might as well use the HasBoundingVolume trait.

The following example computes the bounding spheres of a cone and a cylinder, merges them together, creates an enlarged version of the cylinder bounding sphere, and performs some tests.

/*
 * Initialize the shapes.
 */
let cone     = Cone::new(0.5, 0.5);
let cylinder = Cylinder::new(1.0, 0.5);

let cone_pos     = Isometry2::new(Vector2::y(), na::zero()); // 1.0 along the `y` axis.
let cylinder_pos = na::one::<Isometry2<f32>>();              // Identity matrix.

/*
 * Compute their bounding spheres.
 */
let bounding_sphere_cone     = bounding_volume::bounding_sphere(&cone, &cone_pos);
let bounding_sphere_cylinder = bounding_volume::bounding_sphere(&cylinder, &cylinder_pos);

// Merge the two spheres.
let bounding_bounding_sphere = bounding_sphere_cone.merged(&bounding_sphere_cylinder);

// Enlarge the cylinder bounding sphere.
let loose_bounding_sphere_cylinder = bounding_sphere_cylinder.loosened(1.0);

// Intersection and inclusion tests.
assert!(bounding_sphere_cone.intersects(&bounding_sphere_cylinder));
assert!(bounding_bounding_sphere.contains(&bounding_sphere_cone));
assert!(bounding_bounding_sphere.contains(&bounding_sphere_cylinder));
assert!(!bounding_sphere_cylinder.contains(&bounding_bounding_sphere));
assert!(!bounding_sphere_cone.contains(&bounding_bounding_sphere));
assert!(loose_bounding_sphere_cylinder.contains(&bounding_sphere_cylinder));
/*
 * Initialize the shapes.
 */
let cone     = Cone::new(0.5, 0.5);
let cylinder = Cylinder::new(1.0, 0.5);

let cone_pos     = Isometry3::new(Vector3::z(), na::zero()); // 1.0 along the `z` axis.
let cylinder_pos = na::one::<Isometry3<f32>>();              // Identity matrix.

/*
 * Compute their bounding spheres.
 */
let bounding_sphere_cone     = bounding_volume::bounding_sphere(&cone, &cone_pos);
let bounding_sphere_cylinder = bounding_volume::bounding_sphere(&cylinder, &cylinder_pos);

// Merge the two spheres.
let bounding_bounding_sphere = bounding_sphere_cone.merged(&bounding_sphere_cylinder);

// Enlarge the cylinder bounding sphere.
let loose_bounding_sphere_cylinder = bounding_sphere_cylinder.loosened(1.0);

// Intersection and inclusion tests.
assert!(bounding_sphere_cone.intersects(&bounding_sphere_cylinder));
assert!(bounding_bounding_sphere.contains(&bounding_sphere_cone));
assert!(bounding_bounding_sphere.contains(&bounding_sphere_cylinder));
assert!(!bounding_sphere_cylinder.contains(&bounding_bounding_sphere));
assert!(!bounding_sphere_cone.contains(&bounding_bounding_sphere));
assert!(loose_bounding_sphere_cylinder.contains(&bounding_sphere_cylinder));

Axis-Aligned Bounding Box§

As suggested by its name, the AABB is a box with principal axis aligned with the positive coordinate axises , , .

AABB

Its orientation being fixed at all times, it is completely defined by the position of its extremal vertices (the two vertices with extremal values along each coordinate axis):

Method Description
.mins() The AABB vertex with the smallest coordinates along each axis.
.maxs() The AABB vertex with the greatest coordinates along each axis.

Of course, the AABB implements the BoundingVolume trait. The following shows the effect of the .loosen(m) and .tighten(m) method on it:

AABB loosening AABB tightening

An AABB supports ray casting and point queries as well.

There are four ways to create an AABB. The main one is to use the usual static method AABB::new(mins, maxs). This will fail if one component of mins is strictly greater than the corresponding component of maxs. The second one is to use the unsafe constructor AABB::new_invalid(). It is unsafe because the result AABB is invalid: its mins field is set to Bounded::max_value() and its maxs field is set to -Bounded::max_value(). This is useful to initiate the merging of multiple AABB. The third construction method is to use the bounding_volume.aabb(g, m) function, where g and m are the shape and its position (e.g. a transformation matrix). Finally, generic applications may directly call the method from the HasBoundingVolume trait.

The following example computes the AABB of a cone and a cylinder, merges them together, creates an enlarged version of the cylinder AABB, and performs some tests.

/*
 * Initialize the shapes.
 */
let cone     = Cone::new(0.5, 0.5);
let cylinder = Cylinder::new(1.0, 0.5);

let cone_pos     = Isometry2::new(Vector2::y(), na::zero()); // 1.0 along the `y` axis.
let cylinder_pos = na::one::<Isometry2<f32>>();              // Identity matrix.

/*
 * Compute their axis-aligned bounding boxes.
 */
let aabb_cone     = bounding_volume::aabb(&cone, &cone_pos);
let aabb_cylinder = bounding_volume::aabb(&cylinder, &cylinder_pos);

// Merge the two boxes.
let bounding_aabb = aabb_cone.merged(&aabb_cylinder);

// Enlarge the cylinder aabb.
let loose_aabb_cylinder = aabb_cylinder.loosened(1.0);

// Intersection and inclusion tests.
assert!(aabb_cone.intersects(&aabb_cylinder));
assert!(bounding_aabb.contains(&aabb_cone));
assert!(bounding_aabb.contains(&aabb_cylinder));
assert!(!aabb_cylinder.contains(&bounding_aabb));
assert!(!aabb_cone.contains(&bounding_aabb));
assert!(loose_aabb_cylinder.contains(&aabb_cylinder));
/*
 * Initialize the shapes.
 */
let cone     = Cone::new(0.5, 0.5);
let cylinder = Cylinder::new(1.0, 0.5);

let cone_pos     = Isometry3::new(Vector3::z(), na::zero()); // 1.0 along the `z` axis.
let cylinder_pos = na::one::<Isometry3<f32>>();              // Identity matrix.

/*
 * Compute their axis-aligned bounding boxes.
 */
let aabb_cone     = bounding_volume::aabb(&cone, &cone_pos);
let aabb_cylinder = bounding_volume::aabb(&cylinder, &cylinder_pos);

// Merge the two boxes.
let bounding_aabb = aabb_cone.merged(&aabb_cylinder);

// Enlarge the cylinder aabb.
let loose_aabb_cylinder = aabb_cylinder.loosened(1.0);

// Intersection and inclusion tests.
assert!(aabb_cone.intersects(&aabb_cylinder));
assert!(bounding_aabb.contains(&aabb_cone));
assert!(bounding_aabb.contains(&aabb_cylinder));
assert!(!aabb_cylinder.contains(&bounding_aabb));
assert!(!aabb_cone.contains(&bounding_aabb));
assert!(loose_aabb_cylinder.contains(&aabb_cylinder));

Spacial partitioning§

Acceleration structures like spacial partitioning and bounding volume hierarchies are generalizations of bounding volumes to more than one shape. They are necessary to efficiently perform geometric queries on scenes with hundreds on objects. Acceleration structures allow to filter out quickly the majority of objects that would make the geometric query fail. For example, without an efficient spacial partitioning structure, we would not be able to ray-trace a complex scene with millions of triangles like this one (6,704,264 triangles) in just a few seconds:

rungholt

For a high-level interface you may use a broad phase algorithm. Under the hood, they use accelerations structures from the partitioning module that may be used directly instead. At the moment, ncollide has only one tree-based structure: the Bounding Volume Tree, aka., BVT. The similar structure DBVT is less efficient but modifiable after initialization.

The Bounding Volume Tree§

The Bounding Volume Tree is a proper binary tree containing shapes on its leaves only. Any interior node contains a bounding volume that is required to bound all the shapes on the leaves of the subtree it is root of. For example, the following figure depicts a set of 2D objects (brown), their AABB (red) and the corresponding AABB Tree (one color per depth):

BVT with AABB

Note that even if this example uses AABB, the BVT and DBVT are generic with regard to the type of bounding volume so we could use, e.g., bounding spheres instead.

Creating a BVT§

Because the BVT is an immutable data structure, it must be created at once and cannot be modified after. The ::new_with_partitioner(leaves, f) is its main constructor and requires a list leaves of tuples containing the objects that will be stored on the BVT leaves and their bounding volumes. The objects themselves are just associated data opaque to the BVT and do not have to implement any specific trait. The second argument f is a closure (the partitioning scheme) that will split any given array of bounding volumes into two groups. This splitting process is known as the top-down tree construction approach, i.e., starting with the tree root and recursively splitting its way down to the leaves. One example of such partitioning scheme is the partitioning::balanced_partitioner(...) that will distribute the objects depending on their bounding volumes position along one axis. This will generate a balanced tree (with is not necessarily optimal for all applications).

The second constructor of the BVT is ::new_balanced(...) which simply invokes ::new_with_partitioner(...) with your objects and the ::balanced_partitioner(...).

Using a BVT§

A BVT can be traversed using the visitor pattern. Three kinds of traversals are available depending on your needs:

  1. Depth-first traversal with .visit(...) controlled by a user-defined visitor implementing the BVTVisitor trait. An example of application of depth-first traversal is the search for all nodes intersecting a given bounding volume.
  2. Best-first traversal with .best_fisrt_search(...) controlled by a user-defined cost function implementing the BVTCostFn trait. An example of application of best-first traversals is ray-tracing where you are only interested in the closest ray intersection. Best-first traversals are usually much more efficient than a complete traversal if only one result is needed.
  3. Simultaneous depth-first traversal of two BVTs with .visit_bvtt(...). This will traverse two BVT simultaneously, applying a user-defined visitor implementing the BVTTVisitor trait on each pair of nodes (one from each BVT) traversed. The BVTT acronym stands for Bounding Volume Test Tree because such traversal can be visualized as a tree as well. Simultaneous BVT traversal is typically used to check two composite object for intersection. Note that both BVT involved in the traversal may be the same one.

A few visitors and cost functions are already implemented on ncollide:

let interferences = Vec::new();

{
    let visitor = RayInterferencesCollector::new(&bv, &mut interferences);
    bvt.visit(&mut visitor);
}

// Now `interferences` contains the list of all objects which
// bounding volume intersects `bv`.
let result = Vec::new();

{
    let visitor = RayInterferencesCollector::new(&ray, &mut result);
    bvt.visit(&mut visitor);
}

// Now `result` contains the list of all objects which
// bounding volume intersects `ray`.
let result = Vec::new();

{
    let visitor = PointInterferencesCollector::new(&point, &mut result);
    bvt.visit(&mut visitor);
}

// Now `result` contains the list of all objects which
// bounding volume intersects `ray`.
let visitor = RayIntersectionCostFn::new(&ray, true, false);

match bvt.best_first_search(&mut visitor) {
    Some((body, ray_intersection)) => {
        // The ray intersected some objects and `body` is the closest one.
        // `ray_intersection` contains the ray-cast result.
    },
    None => {
        // No intersection found.
    }
}

Attention: note that while the cost function RayIntersectionCostFn performs a ray cast on both objects and their bounding volumes, the other visitors like RayInterferencesCollector only work with the bounding volumes. So if you are using the latter, you need to check if the query actually succeeds on the collected objects yourself!

The following example creates four shapes, sets up a BVT to associate indices to their bounding spheres, and casts some rays on it using the RayInterferencesCollector visitor.

/*
 * Custom trait to group `HasBoudingSphere` and `RayCast` together.
 */
trait Shape2: HasBoundingSphere<Point2<f64>, Isometry2<f64>> +
              RayCast<Point2<f64>, Isometry2<f64>> {
}

impl<T> Shape2 for T
    where T: HasBoundingSphere<Point2<f64>, Isometry2<f64>> +
             RayCast<Point2<f64>, Isometry2<f64>> {
}

fn main() {
    let ball = Ball::new(0.5);
    let caps = Capsule::new(0.5, 0.75);
    let cone = Cone::new(0.5, 0.75);
    let cube = Cuboid::new(Vector2::new(1.0, 0.5));

    let shapes = [
        &ball as &Shape2,
        &caps as &Shape2,
        &cone as &Shape2,
        &cube as &Shape2
    ];

    let poss = [
        Isometry2::new(Vector2::new(1.0, 0.0), na::zero()),
        Isometry2::new(Vector2::new(2.0, 0.0), na::zero()),
        Isometry2::new(Vector2::new(3.0, 0.0), na::zero()),
        Isometry2::new(Vector2::new(4.0, 2.0), na::zero())
    ];

    let idx_and_bounding_spheres  = vec!(
        (0usize, shapes[0].bounding_sphere(&poss[0])),
        (1usize, shapes[1].bounding_sphere(&poss[1])),
        (2usize, shapes[2].bounding_sphere(&poss[2])),
        (3usize, shapes[3].bounding_sphere(&poss[3]))
    );

    let bvt      = BVT::new_balanced(idx_and_bounding_spheres);
    let ray_hit  = Ray::new(na::orig(), Vector2::x());
    let ray_miss = Ray::new(na::orig(), -Vector2::x());

    /*
     * Collecting all objects with bounding volumes intersecting the ray.
     */
    let mut collector_hit:  Vec<usize> = Vec::new();
    let mut collector_miss: Vec<usize> = Vec::new();

    // We need a new scope here to avoid borrowing issues.
    {
        let mut visitor_hit  = RayInterferencesCollector::new(&ray_hit, &mut collector_hit);
        let mut visitor_miss = RayInterferencesCollector::new(&ray_miss, &mut collector_miss);

        bvt.visit(&mut visitor_hit);
        bvt.visit(&mut visitor_miss);
    }

    assert!(collector_hit.len()  == 3);
    assert!(collector_miss.len() == 0);
}
/*
 * Custom trait to group `HasBoudingSphere` and `RayCast` together.
 */
trait Shape3: HasBoundingSphere<Point3<f64>, Isometry3<f64>> +
              RayCast<Point3<f64>, Isometry3<f64>> {
}

impl<T> Shape3 for T
    where T: HasBoundingSphere<Point3<f64>, Isometry3<f64>> +
             RayCast<Point3<f64>, Isometry3<f64>> {
}

fn main() {
    let ball = Ball::new(0.5);
    let caps = Capsule::new(0.5, 0.75);
    let cone = Cone::new(0.5, 0.75);
    let cube = Cuboid::new(Vector3::new(1.0, 0.5, 1.0));

    let shapes = [
        &ball as &Shape3,
        &caps as &Shape3,
        &cone as &Shape3,
        &cube as &Shape3
    ];

    let poss = [
        Isometry3::new(Vector3::new(0.0, 0.0, 1.0), na::zero()),
        Isometry3::new(Vector3::new(0.0, 0.0, 2.0), na::zero()),
        Isometry3::new(Vector3::new(0.0, 0.0, 3.0), na::zero()),
        Isometry3::new(Vector3::new(0.0, 2.0, 4.0), na::zero())
    ];

    let idx_and_bounding_spheres  = vec!(
        (0usize, shapes[0].bounding_sphere(&poss[0])),
        (1usize, shapes[1].bounding_sphere(&poss[1])),
        (2usize, shapes[2].bounding_sphere(&poss[2])),
        (3usize, shapes[3].bounding_sphere(&poss[3]))
    );

    let bvt      = BVT::new_balanced(idx_and_bounding_spheres);
    let ray_hit  = Ray::new(na::orig(), Vector3::z());
    let ray_miss = Ray::new(na::orig(), -Vector3::z());

    /*
     * Ray cast using a visitor.
     */
    let mut collector_hit:  Vec<usize> = Vec::new();
    let mut collector_miss: Vec<usize> = Vec::new();

    // We need a new scope here to avoid borrowing issues.
    {
        let mut visitor_hit  = RayInterferencesCollector::new(&ray_hit, &mut collector_hit);
        let mut visitor_miss = RayInterferencesCollector::new(&ray_miss, &mut collector_miss);

        bvt.visit(&mut visitor_hit);
        bvt.visit(&mut visitor_miss);
    }

    assert!(collector_hit.len()  == 3);
    assert!(collector_miss.len() == 0);
}

The DBVT§

The Dynamic Bounding Volume Tree shares the same overall structure as the BVT but is modifiable after initialization. It allows:

After an insertion or a removal, the DBVT must recompute some internal node bounding volumes in order to ensure they still bound their subtree’s leaves. This refitting is performed immediately at insertion-time and lazily after removals.

Currently, the only way to traverse the DBVT is with the .visit(...) method which will perform a depth-first traversal using a user-defined visitor implementing the BVTVisitor trait.


Geometric representations Geometric queries