# Mean Value Coordinates

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1 Mean Value Coordinates Michael S. Floater Abstract: We derive a generalization of barycentric coordinates which allows a vertex in a planar triangulation to be expressed as a convex combination of its neighbouring vertices. The coordinates are motivated by the Mean Value Theorem for harmonic functions and can be used to simplify and improve methods for parameterization and morphing. Keywords: barycentric coordinates, harmonic function, mean value theorem, parameterization, morphing. 1. Introduction Let v 0, v 1,..., v k be points in the plane with v 1,..., v k arranged in an anticlockwise ordering around v 0, as in Figure 1. The points v 1,..., v k form a star-shaped polygon with v 0 in its kernel. Our aim is to study sets of weights λ 1,..., λ k 0 such that λ i v i = v 0, (1.1) λ i = 1. (1.2) Equation (1.1) expresses v 0 as a convex combination of the neighbouring points v 1,..., v k. In the simplest case k = 3, the weights λ 1, λ 2, λ 3 are uniquely determined by (1.1) and (1.2) alone; they are the barycentric coordinates of v 0 with respect to the triangle [v 1, v 2, v 3 ], and they are positive. This motivates calling any set of non-negative weights satisfying ( ) for general k, a set of coordinates for v 0 with respect to v 1,..., v k. There has long been an interest in generalizing barycentric coordinates to k-sided polygons with a view to possible multisided extensions of Bézier surfaces; see for example [ 8 ]. In this setting, one would normally be free to choose v 1,..., v k to form a convex polygon but would need to allow v 0 to be any point inside the polygon or on the polygon, i.e. on an edge or equal to a vertex. More recently, the need for such coordinates arose in methods for parameterization [ 2 ] and morphing [ 5 ], [ 6 ] of triangulations. Here the points v 0, v 1,..., v k will be vertices of a (planar) triangulation and so the point v 0 will never lie on an edge of the polygon formed by v 1,..., v k. If we require no particular properties of the coordinates, the problem is easily solved. Because v 0 lies in the convex hull of v 1,..., v k, there must exist at least one triangle T = [v i1, v i2, v i3 ] which contains v 0, and so we can take λ i1, λ i2, λ i3 to be the three barycentric coordinates of v 0 with respect to T, and make the remaining coordinates zero. However, these coordinates depend randomly on the choice of triangle. An improvement is to take an average of such coordinates over certain covering triangles, as proposed in [ 2 ]. The resulting coordinates depend continuously on v 0, v 1,..., v k, yet still not smoothly. The 1

2 Figure 1. Star-shaped polygon. main purpose of this paper is to address this latter problem. We derive coordinates which depend (infinitely) smoothly on the data points v 0, v 1,..., v k through a simple algebraic formula. Several researchers have studied closely related problems [ 9,11,14,15 ]. In the special case that the polygon v 1,..., v k is convex, Wachspress [ 14 ] found a solution in which the coordinates can be expressed in terms of rational polynomials, λ i = w i k j=1 w, w i = j A(v i 1, v i, v i+1 ) A(v i 1, v i, v 0 )A(v i, v i+1, v 0 ) = cot γ i 1 + cot β i v i v 0 2, (1.3) where A(a, b, c) is the signed area of triangle [a, b, c] and γ i 1 and β i are the angles shown in Figure 1. The latter formulation in terms of angles is due to Meyer, Lee, Barr, and Desbrun [ 9 ]. Of course these coordinates depend smoothly on the data points v 0, v 1,..., v k and are therefore suitable when the polygon is convex. However, for star-shaped polygons the coordinate λ i in (1.3) can be negative, and, in fact, will be so precisely when γ i 1 +β i > π. Another set of previously found weights can be expressed as λ i = w i k j=1 w, w i = cot β i 1 + cot γ i. (1.4) j These weights arise from the standard piecewise linear finite element approximation to the Laplace equation and appear in several books on numerical analysis, e.g. [ 7 ], and probably go back to the work of Courant. They have since been used in the computer graphics literature [ 10 ], [ 1 ]. However, for our purposes these weights suffer from the same problem as the last ones, namely that they might be negative. The weight λ i is negative if and only if β i 1 + γ i > π. Another possible set of coordinates might be Sibson s natural neighbour coordinates [ 11 ], if we treated the points v 1,..., v k as a set of scattered data points. However, despite various other good properties, Sibson s coordinates, like those of [ 2 ], suffer from being defined piecewise, and have in general only C 1 dependence on the point v 0. Moreover, several of Sibson s coordinates might be zero, since the only non-zero ones would correspond to Voronoi neighbours of v 0. 2

3 2. Mean Value Coordinates We now describe a set of coordinates which satisfy all the properties we would like. Let α i, 0 < α i < π, be the angle at v 0 in the triangle [v 0, v i, v i+1 ], defined cyclically; see Figure 1. Proposition 1. The weights λ i = w i k j=1 w j are coordinates for v 0 with respect to v 1,..., v k., w i = tan(α i 1/2) + tan(α i /2), (2.1) v i v 0 As will be explained in Section 3, these weights can be derived from an application of the mean value theorem for harmonic functions, which suggests calling them mean value coordinates. They obviously depend smoothly on the points v 0, v 1,..., v k. Proof: Since 0 < α i < π, we see that tan(α i /2) is defined and positive, and therefore λ i is well-defined and positive for i = 1,..., k, and by definition the λ i sum to one. It remains to prove (1.1). From (2.1), equation (1.1) is equivalent to w i (v i v 0 ) = 0. (2.2) We next use polar coordinates, centred at v 0, so that Then we have and equation (2.2) becomes or equivalently v i = v 0 + r i (cos, sin ). v i v 0 v i v 0 = (cos, sin ), and α i = +1, (tan(α i 1 /2) + tan(α i /2))(cos, sin ) = 0, tan(α i /2)((cos, sin ) + (cos +1, sin +1 )) = 0. (2.3) To establish this latter identity, observe that 0 = = = 2π 0 (cos θ, sin θ) dθ (cos θ, sin θ) dθ sin(+1 θ) (cos, sin ) + sin(θ ) (cos +1, sin +1 ) dθ, sin α i sin α i 3 (2.4)

4 the last line following from the addition formula for sines. Since also and sin(+1 θ) dθ = equation (2.4) reduces to equation (2.3). sin(θ ) dθ = 1 cos α i, (2.5) tan(α i /2) = 1 cos α i sin α i, (2.6) Not only are these coordinates positive, but we can bound them away from zero. This might be useful when considering the conditioning of the linear systems used in [ 2,5,6 ]. If L = max i v i v 0, L = min i v i v 0 and α = max i α i, α = min i α i, then from (2.1) we have 2 tan(α /2) L w i 2 tan(α /2), L and where 1 Ck λ i C k, (2.7) C = L tan(α /2) L tan(α /2) 1. The inequality (2.7) becomes an equality when C = 1 which occurs when v 1,..., v k is a regular polygon and v 0 is its centre. 3. Motivation The motivation behind the coordinates was an attempt to approximate harmonic maps by piecewise linear maps over triangulations, in such a way that injectivity is preserved. Recall that a C 2 function u defined over a planar region Ω is harmonic if it satisfies the Laplace equation u xx + u yy = 0. Suppose we want to approximate the solution u with respect to Dirichlet boundary conditions, u Ω = u 0, by a piecewise linear function u T over some triangulation T of Ω. Thus u T will be an element of the spline space S1(T 0 ). The finite element approach to this problem is to take u T to be the unique element of S1(T 0 ) which minimizes Ω u T 2 dx subject to the boundary conditions. As is well known, this leads to a sparse linear system in the values of u T at the interior vertices of the triangulation T. To be precise, suppose 4

5 v 0 in Figure 1 is an interior vertex of the triangulation. As described in several books on numerical analysis, the equation associated with v 0 can be expressed as u T (v 0 ) = λ i u T (v i ), (3.1) where λ i is given by equation (1.4). Suppose now that we use this method component-wise to approximate a harmonic map φ : Ω lr 2, that is a map φ = (φ 1, φ 2 ) for which both φ 1 and φ 2 are harmonic functions, by a piecewise linear map φ T : Ω lr 2. We would like the map φ T to be injective and a sufficient condition has been derived in [ 13 ] and [ 4 ]: if φ T is a convex combination map, i.e. at every interior vertex v 0 of T, we have φ T (v 0 ) = λ i φ T (v i ), (3.2) for some positive weights λ 1,..., λ k which sum to one, and if φ T maps the boundary T homeomorphically to the boundary of a convex region, then φ T is one-to-one. From this point of view, the standard finite element approximation φ T has a drawback: the theory of [ 13 ] and [ 4 ] cannot be applied. The map φ T will not in general be a convex combination map because the weights λ i in (1.4) can be negative which can lead to foldover in the map (an example is given in [ 3 ]). This motivates, if possible, approximating a harmonic map φ by a convex combination map φ T, i.e., one with positive weights in (3.2). Consider the following alternative discretization of a harmonic function u. Recall that harmonic functions satisfy the mean value theorem. The mean value theorem comes in two forms. Circumferential Mean Value Theorem. For a disc B = B(v 0, r) Ω with boundary Γ, u(v 0 ) = 1 u(v) ds. 2πr Γ Solid Mean Value Theorem. u(v 0 ) = 1 πr 2 u(v) dx dy. This suggests finding the element u T of S1(T 0 ) which satisfies one of the two mean value theorems locally at every interior vertex v 0 of T. We will concentrate on the first version and demand that u T (v 0 ) = 1 u T (v) ds, (3.3) 2πr for r sufficiently small that the disc B(v 0, r) is entirely contained in the union of the triangles containing v 0 ; see Figure 2. It turns out that this equation can be expressed in the form of (3.1) where the weights λ i are those of (2.1), independent of the choice of r. To see this, consider the triangle T i = [v 0, v i, v i+1 ] in Figure 2 and let Γ i be the part of Γ contained in T i. 5 B Γ

6 Γ v 0 v v i+1 v i Figure 2. Circle for the Mean Value Theorem. Lemma 1. If f : T i lr is any linear function then ( f(v) ds = rα i f(v 0 ) + r 2 f(vi ) f(v 0 ) tan(α i /2) + f(v ) i+1) f(v 0 ). (3.4) Γ i v i v 0 v i+1 v 0 Proof: We represent any point v Γ i in polar coordinates with respect to v 0, i.e., and we let Then v = v 0 + r(cos θ, sin θ), v j = v 0 + r j (cos θ j, sin θ j ), j = i, i + 1. Γ i f(v) ds = r Since f is linear, and using barycentric coordinates, we have f(v) dθ. (3.5) f(v) = f(v 0 ) + λ 1 (f(v i ) f(v 0 )) + λ 2 (f(v i+1 ) f(v 0 )), (3.6) where λ 1 = A 1 /A and λ 2 = A 2 /A and A 1 and A 2 are the areas of the two triangles [v 0, v, v i+1 ], [v 0, v i, v] and A the area of the the whole triangle T i. Using trigonometry we have and A = 1 2 r ir i+1 sin α i, A 1 = 1 2 rr i+1 sin(+1 θ), A 2 = 1 2 rr i sin(θ ), λ 1 = r sin(+1 θ) r i sin α i, λ 2 = r sin(θ ) r i+1 sin α i. (3.7) It follows that the substitution of the expression for f(v) in (3.6) into equation (3.5) and applying the identities ( ) leads to equation (3.4). It is now a simple matter to show that equation (3.3) reduces to the linear combination (3.1) with the coordinates λ i of (2.1). 6

7 Proposition 2. Suppose the piecewise linear function u T : Ω lr satisfies the local mean value theorem, i.e., for each interior vertex v 0, it satisfies equation (3.3) for some r > 0 suitably small. Then u T (v 0 ) is given by the convex combination in (3.1) with the weights λ i of (2.1). Proof: Equation (3.3) can be written as u T (v 0 ) = 1 2πr which, after applying Lemma 1 to u T, reduces to 0 = Γ i u T (v) ds, ( ut (v i ) u T (v 0 ) tan(α i /2) + u ) T (v i+1 ) u T (v 0 ), v i v 0 v i+1 v 0 which is equivalent to equation (3.1) with the weights of (2.1). We now notice that Proposition 1 follows from Proposition 2 due to the simple observation that linear bivariate functions are trivially harmonic. It is not difficult to show that Proposition 2 remains true when the solid mean value theorem is used instead of the circumferential one, the main point being that λ 1 and λ 2 in equation (3.7) are linear in r. We remark finally that it is well known that the standard finite element approximation u T converges to u in various norms as the mesh size of the triangulation T tends to zero, under certain conditions on the angles of the triangles. Initial numerical tests suggest that the mean value approximation does not converge to u in general. An interesting question for future research is whether it is in fact possible to approximate a harmonic map by a convex combination map over an arbitrary triangulation with sufficiently small mesh size. 4. Applications In the parameterization method of [ 2 ], the triangulation is a spatial one, so that the vertices v 0,..., v k are points in lr 3. However, the mean value coordinates can be applied directly to the triangulation; we simply compute the coordinates λ i of equation (2.1) directly from the vertices v 0,..., v k lr 3. The numerical example of Figure 3 shows the result of parameterizing a triangle mesh (3a) and mapping a rectangular grid in the parameter plane back onto the mesh. The three parameterizations used are uniform (3b) (i.e. Tutte s embedding), shape-preserving (3c), and mean value (3d). In this example the mean value parameterization looks at least as good as the shape-preserving one of [ 2 ]. In addition, the mean value coordinates are faster to compute than the shape-preserving coordinates, and have the theoretical advantage that the resulting parameterization will depend smoothly on the vertices of the triangulation. Mean value coordinates can also be used to morph pairs of compatible planar triangulations, adapting the method of [ 5 ]. Such a morph will depend smoothly on the vertices of the two triangulations. Surazhsky and Gotsman found recently that mean value morphs are visually smoother than previous morphs; see [ 12 ] for details. 7

8 Figure 3. Comparisons from left to right: (3a) Triangulation, (3b) Tutte, (3c) shape-preserving, (3d) mean value 5. Final remarks When k = 3 the mean value coordinates, like Wachspress s coordinates, are equal to the three barycentric coordinates, due to uniqueness. When k = 4 the mean value coordinates and Wachspress coordinates are different in general. For example, when the points v 1, v 2, v 3, v 4 form a rectangle, the Wachspress coordinates are bilinear, while the mean value coordinates are not. If the points v 1,..., v k form a convex polygon, the mean value coordinates are defined for all points v 0 inside the polygon, but due to the use of the angles α i in formula (2.1), it is not obvious whether the coordinates can be extended to the polygon itself. Though this paper was not intended to deal with this issue, it would be important if these coordinates were to be used for generalizing Bezier surfaces, as in [ 8 ]. For Wachspress s coordinates (1.3), this is not a problem because by multiplying by the product of all areas A(v j, v j+1, v 0 ), they have the well-known equivalent expression λ i = w i k j=1 w j, w i = A(v i 1, v i, v i+1 ) j i 1,i A(v j, v j+1, v 0 ). It turns out that the mean value coordinates can also be continuously extended to the polygon itself. Moreover, like Wachspress s coordinates, they are linear along each edge of the polygon and have the Lagrange property at the vertices: if v 0 = v i then λ i = 1 and λ j = 0 for j i. A proof of this as well as other properties of these coordinates will appear in a forthcoming paper. Acknowledgement. I wish to thank Mathieu Desbrun for supplying the data set for the numerical example and the referees for their comments. This work was partly supported by the European Union project MINGLE, contract num. HPRN-CT

9 References 1. M. Eck, T. DeRose, T. Duchamp, H. Hoppe, M. Lounsbery, and W. Stuetzle, Multiresolution analysis of arbitrary meshes, Computer Graphics Proceedings, SIGGRAPH 95 (1995), M. S. Floater, Parametrization and smooth approximation of surface triangulations, Comp. Aided Geom. Design 14 (1997), M. S. Floater, Parametric tilings and scattered data approximation, Intern. J. Shape Modeling 4 (1998), M. S. Floater, One-to-one piecewise linear mappings over triangulations, to appear in Math. Comp. 5. M. S. Floater and C. Gotsman, How to morph tilings injectively, J. Comp. Appl. Math. 101 (1999), C. Gotsman and V. Surazhsky, Guaranteed intersection-free polygon morphing, Computers and Graphics 25-1 (2001), A. Iserles, A first course in numerical analysis of differential equations, Cambridge University Press, C. Loop and T. DeRose, A multisided generalization of Bézier surfaces, ACM Trans. Graph. 8 (1989), M. Meyer, H. Lee, A. Barr, and M. Desbrun, Generalizing barycentric coordinates to irregular n-gons, preprint, Caltech, U. Pinkall and K. Polthier, Computing Discrete Minimal Surfaces and Their Conjugates. Exp. Math. 2 (1993), R. Sibson, A brief description of natural neighbour interpolation, in Interpreting Multivariate data, Vic Barnett (ed.), John Wiley, Chichester, 1981, V. Surazhsky and C. Gotsman, Intrinsic morphing of compatible triangulations, preprint. 13. W. T. Tutte, How to draw a graph, Proc. London Math. Soc. 13 (1963), E. Wachspress, A rational finite element basis, Academic Press, J. Warren, Barycentric coordinates for convex polytopes, Adv. Comp. Math. 6 (1996), Michael S. Floater SINTEF Postbox 124, Blindern 0314 Oslo, NORWAY 9

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