The supershape equation is an extension of the both the equation of the sphere and ellipse and even the superellipse given here. The general formula for the supershape is given below.
Where r and phi are polar coordinates (radius,angle). n_{1}, n_{2}, n_{3}, and m are real numbers. a and b are real numbers excluding zero.
Other examples
Given a value of phi the following function evaluates the supershape function and calculates (x,y). void Eval(double m,double n1,double n2,double n3,double phi,double *x,double *y) { double r; double t1,t2; double a=1,b=1; t1 = cos(m * phi / 4) / a; t1 = ABS(t1); t1 = pow(t1,n2); t2 = sin(m * phi / 4) / b; t2 = ABS(t2); t2 = pow(t2,n3); r = pow(t1+t2,1/n1); if (ABS(r) == 0) { *x = 0; *y = 0; } else { r = 1 / r; *x = r * cos(phi); *y = r * sin(phi); } } So it might be called as follows
for (i=0;i<=NP;i++) { phi = i * TWOPI / NP; Eval(m,n1,n2,n3,phi,&x,&y);  do something with the point x,y  }
Definition of supershape in 2 dimensions.
Extension to 3D using the spherical product. The following shows the interface developed to explore 3D supershapes. It is based upon XWindows and OpenGL and as such is interactive. It is currently available for Mac OSX (as a UNIX application) upon payment of a US$30 shareware fee. Use of the program is straightforward, edit fields and hit return. The left mouse button rotates the model in two axes, the middle mouse button rotates about the third axis. The right mouse button brings up a menu.
Click for full size image
Many settings can be intialised from the command line, others control is given by single key strokes. To see a complete list type the program name at the command prompt with a "h" option. At the time of writing these are given below. >supershape h Usage: supershape [command line options] Command line options h this text f full screen s active stereo ss dual screen stereo a auto rotate rw wireframe rs flat shaded rp specular shaded Mouse buttons left camera rotate shift left camera pan middle camera roll shift middle camera forward, reverse Key Strokes arrow keys camera rotate <,> camera forward, reverse +, camera zoom in, out [,] camera roll r toggle window recording w capture window to TGA file a toggle auto rotation of camera 1,2,3 different rendering mode h camera to home position f1 to f6 axis aligned camera positions ESC,q quitFeatures
The 2D supershapes (but with added small thickness) can be created using this software by setting the second supershape parameters as m=0, n1=n2=n3=1, a=b=1 and using a small z axis scale factor. Indeed this can often be the preferred approach for using a 2D form within a 3D model, after all, real world objects do have some thickness. The example on the left has a thickness of 0.02 units (x and y axis dimensions of 1). Or even set the depth to 0 and vary latitude from 0 to 90 degrees as in the example on the right.
Extrusions of 2D supershapes can be created by setting the second supershape parameters as m=4, a=1, b=1, and high equal values for each of n1,n2,n3. For example n1=n2=n3=200 gives relatively sharp edges.
A significant portion of the parameter space results in surfaces with various types of numerical problems (powers of negative numbers, divide by 0, underflow, overflow, etc) as well as issues related to the representation of 3D graphics. The software that has been developed and created the images shown above, can display the edges where numerical problems have arisen. These regions are shown in pick as shown in the following two images.
The supershape function can obviously be modulated by another function. For example to create the shell like structures below, the radius (r1) of the superformula that varies the longitude is scaled by either a logarithmic or Archimedes spiral. In some cases the z coordinate is additionally made a linear function of longitude.
In the above the two supershapes were mapped onto a topological sphere. One could map supershapes onto other forms as well, for example, a torus. In the following images the mapping is as follows:
Generating the 3D Supershape in PovrayWritten by Paul BourkeJuly 2003
Based upon equations by Johan Gielis
There are two (at least) ways of representing supershapes using PovRay. One is to use the builtin parametric primitive, doing it this way would result in the highest resolution/quality results unfortunately the rendering times proved to be prohibitive. The approach illustrated below is to write a macro in the PovRay scene language. The macro and an example of it's use is given in this PovRay (version 3.5) file: supershape.pov.
Further POVRay scene examples are given below
Contributions from the POVRay competition
