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18.6.2 RenderAtoms and RenderMolecule

RenderAtoms are self−contained rendering units that can be passed to the underlying rendering engine. The RenderAtom contains lights, fog, model clipping information, an Appearance, and a model transformation matrix. RenderAtoms can be linked using double linked−list RenderAtom members within the RenderAtom class.

Higher level rendering operations are described using the RenderMolecule class. In addition to maintaining a list of RenderAtoms, RenderMolecules are able to remove redundant changes in Appearance between consecutive RenderAtoms. In this way, the number of Appearance state changes (Appearance, Material, Transparency, etc.) performed by the underlying rendering engine is minimized.