Around seven or eight years ago I was trying all sorts of things to enhance the look of my Chalktalk interactive drawing program. One thing that was really important to me was line quality.
I wanted to be able to render beautiful 3D lines, which tapered and had rounded ends, as though you were drawing with a high quality magical paintbrush in 3D. But I also wanted it to run very fast.
So I wrote a special shader just for drawing those sorts of lines. My first test was just to see if I could render two curved tapered lines in space, as seen from different points of view.
Once I got that working, I tried ramping things up a bit. I generated a more ambitious test, with lots of squiggly tapered 3D lines.
When that seemed to work ok, I really went for it. I modified the program to generate 1000 tangled up squiggly lines in 3D.
To my surprise, it still looked great, and it still ran really fast. Hardware accelerated shaders are really amazing, aren’t they?