# Graphic primitive

The term **(graphic) primitive***(das*, pl. *primitive*) is used in computer graphics. It refers to elementary one-, two- or three-dimensional geometric shapes that are part of interchange formats (e.g. DXF, PCL or SVG). More complicated shapes can be assembled from these simple primitives. The terms *basic object, basic graphic shape* or *basic spatial reference* shape (see also ISO 19107) are also used synonymously.

## Examples and applications

Which shapes belong to basic graphic shapes depends on the program or description language used. In 2D computer graphics, points, lines, polygons, circles, and ellipses are common. In 3D computer graphics, triangles or polygons are the most common primitives, although point clouds and other shapes are also common.

Basic shapes are used in vector-based graphics editing software and 3D modeling tools. In 2D computer graphics, basic shapes have algorithms for rasterization; in 3D computer graphics, they are used by renderers.

- Graphics primitives in OpenGL
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- GL_POINTS
- GL_LINES
- GL_LINE_STRIP
- GL_LINE_LOOP
- GL_POLYGON
- GL_TRIANGLES
- GL_TRIANGLE_STRIP
- GL_TRIANGLE_FAN
- GL_QUADS
- GL_QUAD_STRIPS

## Literature

- Hans-Joachim Bungartz et al:
*Introduction to Computer Graphics: Fundamentals, geometric modeling, algorithms,*p. 6 ff. Vieweg, Braunschweig 2002, ISBN 3-528-16769-6

## Individual references

- Geometric Modeling