View Full Version : Very first mesh in history?

02-09-2005, 07:03 PM
When was the first polygonal object created, by whom and what was it? Are there any pictures? Is there a history about polygon modelling in the web? I have to write a paper about modelling techniques and I wanted to start with a brief history ... But I haven't found anything useful yet.

02-09-2005, 07:11 PM
probably a plane(not the air kind).

i dont know the answer, but i would like to know too.

Naisa Evoli
02-09-2005, 07:39 PM
well..i donít remember exact dates and stuff but i do know that computer modeling started off on air force radar screens. Some students at MIT messed around with them creating vector images on them using different signals to signify lines on the screen. Later they made it more complicated creating vector based 3D images. Once raster displays where invited I am pretty sure that the first polygon based image was the tea pot. This Iím not sure about, but Iím pretty sure (pretty sure it was called the Utah teapot). Polygons to this day can still be drawn most rapidly but have restrictions that a polygon can only have straight edges, so the need for curved geometry came about, because in order for poly's to look smooth, it required smaller and smaller polygons which made file size and render requirements grow exponentially. Curve geometry are made up of splines which comes from the old days of boat building. They use to soak wood in water then when it became very pliable would bend the wood into the shape the boat needed until it dried and retained its bent shape, these where called splines. This was uniform because it was an even bend throughout the curve. Cardinal curves where made to address curved geometry. With this type of curve, spline based curve segments passed through all the interior control points. Building surfaces usually required smooth transitions between more than one of these surfaces. fine control of Cardinal Curves was easy but course or global control was very difficult, so a new approach to curve geometry was needed. Bezier Curve passed through the first and last control points and uses the interior points to approximate the shape of the curve segments. (you will recognize this type of cure from Photoshop or in the line editor in Maya used for animation. Photoshop uses Bezier type curves for there shapes (pen tool) and how you edit them. You know what I mean, the points with the handles on each side that you can move up down, in out to adjust the curve). This allowed global control over the curve but made fine control hard, so yet another type of curve was needed to address both concerns in curved geometry creation. then B-splines where created, which are curves that do not pass through any control points but rather the points you plot act like magnets pulling on the line to manipulate it the way you want. this allowed again global control, but made fine, local control hard. Then finally the NURBS curve was created. This stood for Non Uniform Rational B-Spline. This had a combination of Interpolated (line going through the control points) and approximation (control points acting like magnets to pull on the line). This allowed for global/course control of the lines as well as local/fine control of the line.

Well, thatís a bout as much modeling history as I know, sorry I couldnít give you more info on the polygons, but hopefully searching for Utah teapot might find you some more info on the history about how that came about, but I hope some of the curve line geometry used in modeling will come in handy. But please please please make sure to do your research, this was all from memory and there could be some misunderstood or forgotten info..lol. But hopefully it will give you some guidelines to go off of^^. good luck ;)

02-10-2005, 01:14 AM
wow! that was really interesting information you got Naisa!

thx for sharing! :)

02-10-2005, 12:40 PM
Thank you very much for your interesting reply Eisa Navoli, I roughly knew the origin of splines (there are two sentences about it in the Maya Online Help) but you added some interesting details to it.

Concerning the Utah Teapot being the first polygon model, I have some doubts. On the website http://www.sjbaker.org/teapot/ there is a history of the Utah Teapot. They write, it consists of nine patches. That makes the Teapot a NURBS object, doesn't it? There are also all coordinates published, but they don't make any sense to me (except the vertice coordinates) ... Besides, the Utah Teapot was created by Martin Newman in the 1970s but CG was developed in the 1960s, so what modelling technique did they use during those ten years?

Naisa Evoli
02-10-2005, 05:26 PM
yeah, like i said i wasnít positive about the teapot being the first. But also keep in mind, computer graphics where started in the 60's (like you said). These graphics where the vector based graphics started by the MIT guys on the old radar monitors, later made into 3D vector images. Polygons didnít come about till the 70's when raster monitores where invented, first brought out by IBM (very early 70's) which would line up right about with he timeline of the teapot. Also NURBS didnít come out till 1979 or later, and the teapot was created in 1974. So becuase of this I am pretty sure it is polygon based (i could be wrong). It could be Bezier curve bassed, but if my sources are right, the teapot was created before NURBS was even introduced. There may be a nurbs version now, but i think the original was made in polys.. (but you are right, the website you have makes it look like the teapot is not polys, but i have a book that makes it look like it is. So, i'm not sure >,<. Have to look for more sources i guesss. The website you gave is just a personal website, and he could post any info he wants, even if its wrong. But he also seems to be very knowlegable on the subject so it seems to be reliable. so i dont know ; ;..sorry i couldnt help more..good luck)

02-10-2005, 06:54 PM
raster lines displays were around for quite a while by then ;) (1926)

here's a potted history of signifigant cg events for the past 800 years (with images in links!):


there's plenty more of this stuff if you do a simple google search.

Naisa Evoli
02-10-2005, 08:07 PM
hmmm..r u sure that raster computer monitores where out that early?..if that is true then i'm hitting the old delete button on the website i got 1970's from..lol

02-10-2005, 08:46 PM
a raster line display is just a television, i.e. a cathode ray tube set to scan multiple lines through a gauze at a specific rate. the first television was made in 1926. as early as 1967 LOGO was designed for children and could trace images both on paper using a turtle and on a video monitor (which shows the profusion of usage by that stage, and the rapid progression speed of the technology), there are a number of earlier images showing computers with scaline style videomonitors online, though i honestly can't find anything stating which was the first machine to do so, though you're right about scanline crt io for computers happening later, but certainly before the 70's, whirlwind used a ossiloscope crt in 1951, and is meant to have been the first computer capable of displaying realtime text and graphics on screen, it looks like the use of videomonitors happened only a few short years after that.

here's some additional information http://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/timeline.php?timeline_category=cmptr

[edited for incorrect information]

Naisa Evoli
02-11-2005, 05:13 AM
kool kool. Well the site i got the raster display date must have been wrong then ; ;. Ty for the info :)

02-11-2005, 12:23 PM

Here are some informations I have about your questions. Hope it'll be useful and you'll be able to verify some of these.
3D first came with the american army, with project like SAGE ( night vision for pilot) and radar guidance. And also from MIT, with Ivan Sutherland (one of the 3d pioneers), who worked on vector drawing, primitives and also stereoscopic view.
According to my informations, David C Evans made the first real 3D model, a vw beetle, he draw the mesh on the car then he entered the coordinates in his computer.
Afterwards Evans and Sutherland worked together for boeing, aeronautic and flight simulator. Edwin Catmull joined Sutherland to work with him later. Catmull modeled a hand and animated it point by point. Then Fred Parkes modeled his wife's head with coordinates, etc etc..

Hope it helps and good luck with your research

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