# Back-Face Culling

**Back-Face Culling** is a performance optimization that avoids drawing polygons that are determined to be facing away from the camera.
A back-facing polygon is defined as a polygon who's vertices have a clockwise winding. What this means is if you are looking at a polygon (a triangle for example) and you look at the position of vertices 0, 1 and 2, if they make a clockwise loop, then you are looking at the back face of the polygon. If they make a counter-clockwise loop than you are looking at the front face of the polygon.

**NOTE:** If you are looking at your geometry in a Geometry Viewer, be sure to use the Vertex Number, and not the Point Number, to figure out which side of your polygons is the front face.

An easy mistake to make is to assume that the polygon's Normal defines which of it's side is the front face. This is untrue, the normal has no bearing on which side is the front face. For lighting to work correctly though it's important the normal is on the front face of the polygon (the face that has a counter-clockwise vertex winding).

Back-Face Culling can be turned on in each MATs common page, or more globally in the Render TOPs.

A sequence of vertices form a Polygon in a SOP. Each vertex is an integer index into the Point List, and each Point holds an XYZ position and attributes like Normals and Texture Coordinates.

Each SOP has a list of Points. Each point has an XYZ 3D position value plus other optional attributes. Each polygon Primitive is defined by a vertex list, which is list of point numbers.