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Geometric Continuity of Parametric Curves

Barsky, Brian A.
DeRose, Tony D.
Technical Report Identifier: CSD-84-205
October 1984

Abstract: Parametric spline curves are typically constructed so that the first n parametric derivatives agree where the curve segments abut. This type of continuity condition has become known as C^n or nth order parametric continuity. We show that the use of parametric continuity disallows many parametrizations which generate geometrically smooth curves.

We define nth order geometric continuity (G^n), develop constraint equations that are necessary and sufficient for geometric continuity of curves, and show that geometric continuity is a relaxed form of parametric continuity. G^n continuity provides for the introduction of n quantities known as shape parameters which can be made available to a designer in a computer aided design environment to modify the shape of curves without moving control vertices. Several applications of the theory are discussed, along with topics of future research.