Parameters of Polygon Offset

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Polygon offset allows the application to specify a depth offset with two parameters, factor and units. factor scales the maximum Z slope, with respect to X or Y of the polygon, and units scales the minimum resolvable depth buffer value. The results are summed to produce the depth offset. This offset is applied in screen space, typically with positive Z pointing into the screen.

The factor parameter is required to ensure correct results for filled primitives that are nearly edge-on to the viewer. In this case, the difference between Z values for the same pixel generated by two coplanar primitives can be as great as the maximum Z slope in X or Y. This Z slope will be large for nearly edge-on primitives, and almost non-existent for face-on primitives. The factor parameter lets you add this type of variable difference into the resulting depth offset.

A typical use might be to set factor and units to 1.0 to offset primitives into positive Z (into the screen) and enable polygon offset for fill mode. Two passes are then made, once with the model's solid geometry and once again with the line geometry. Nearly edge-on filled polygons are pushed substantially away from the eyepoint, to minimize interference with the line geometry, while nearly planar polygons are drawn at least one depth buffer unit behind the line geometry.