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Marking visible & hidden edges of a solid in a given orientation

While solving problems on Projections of Solids, most students face difficulty in correctly identifying the hidden/visible
edges of a solid in a given spatial orientation. This difficulty stems from the fact that the visibility of an edge/corner of the
solid in a particular view (TV) is to be identified by observing the projection of the solid in the other view (i.e. the FV) or
vice versa.
The ability to make fair judgments in this regard will come naturally with sufficient practice but to help you out in the
short term, I have tried to provide you with an algorithm by which you would be able to locate the hidden/visible edges of
a solid with more ease.

[Before proceeding on, let me distinguish between what I mean as Face & Base of a solid.
Base would be used to mean the flat surfaces of the solid to which the axis of the solid is perpendular while all the other
flat surfaces of the solid would be called Faces. For e.g. a Hexagonal prism has 2-bases & 6-faces whereas a Pentagonal
pyramid has 1-base & 5-faces]
Algorithm to mark the visibility of the edges of a solid in a given orientation
I. Identify as to whether any of the base(s) of the solid is visible in the given view.
a) If Yes, mark it as completely visible (i.e. mark all its bounding edges with thick-continuous lines)
b) If No, proceed to step II
II. Identify at
at least one
definitely
one face (call face-1) of the solid that would be definitely
definitely visible in the given view & mark it as
visible.
III. Consider the faces adjacent to face-1 & identify them as face-2 & face-3.
IV. Locate all the corners of face-2 & check out as to whether any of its corners lie inside the visible areas identified
so far.
a) If Yes, this would mean that the face-2 is hidden in the view by face-1 or the base of the solid.
Therefore stop & proceed to step-V
b) If No, this would mean that face-2 is fully visible in our view & the face should be marked as
completely visible.
Continuation: Now that we have identified another completely visible face, treat it as face-1 &
proceed as in step-III.
V. Locate all the corners of face-3 & check out as to whether any of its corners lie inside the visible areas identified
so far.
a) If Yes, this would mean that the face-3 is hidden in the view by face-1 or the base of the solid.
Therefore stop & proceed to step-VI
b) If No, this would mean that face-3 is fully visible in our view & the face should be marked as
completely visible. Now that we have identified another completely visible face, treat it as face-1 &
proceed as in step-III.
VI. Once you have completed till step-V, you would have marked all the visible planes/visible edges of the solid. Now
you should understand that all the corners/edges lying inside the visible areas are actually lying beneath these
planes & hence are not visible. Therefore all the edges containing these corners should be marked as hidden
edges
The algorithm looks long & unintelligible since I have tried to provide the algorithm to solve any general problem.
Students must read the algorithm atleast once & then move ahead to the solved example so as to understand the
algorithm better.

SOLVED EXAMPLE

Question-1 - Draw the top view of a pentagonal pyramid, given its front view & location of its corners in the top view.
Before we start identifying & drawing the hidden/visible edges, lets list out the
names of the faces/base of the solid
Base a-b-c-d-e
Faces a-o-b, b-o-c, c-o-d, d-o-e, e-o-a & with o as Apex
Now lets start identifying the hidden/visible edges in the top view.
Step I - Marking the visible base(s)
We can observe from the FV that the solid is oriented in such a way that is apex is
pointing away from the HP, thereby making it very clear that the base is facing the
HP. Therefore the base would not be fully visible in the TV. Therefore we do
nothing & move on to step-II
Step II identifying at least one visible face
By observing the FV view closely, one could very easily say that the face a-o-b
would be definitely visible in the TV. Hence mark face a-o-b as visible (i.e.
mark its bounding edges o-a, o-b & a-b with thick-continuous edges)
Step III identifying faces adjacent to the visible face
Faces b-o-c & a-o-e are the faces lying adjacent to the face a-o-b
Step IV Locating corners of face b-o-c & marking its visibility
We can observe from the diagram-2 that the corner c of the face b-o-c lies
inside" the visible area of the face a-o-b. Therefore we can confirm that the
corner c lies beneath the face a-o-b & hence, the face b-o-c will not be fully
visible in the TV. Therefore we do nothing & move on to step-IV
Step V Locating corners of face a-o-e & marking its visibility
We can observe from the diagram-2 that none of the corners of the face a-o-e lie inside the visible area of the face
a-o-b. Therefore we could confirm that the face a-o-e is fully visible in the TV & hence it can be marked as
completely visible. (Diagram-3)
Step V (continuation) marking the visibility of the face d-o-e which is adjacent to face a-o-e
We can observe from diagram-3 that the corner d lies inside the visible area of face a-o-e & hence the face d-oe will not be fully visible in the TV. Therefore we do nothing & move on to step-VI
Step VI considering face a-o-e which is adjacent to face a-o-b (Diagram-4)
Now that all the visible faces are marked, all the edges inside these visible faces can be marked as hidden edges.

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Prepared by: Chacko Jacob, dated: 28.05.09