a visibility determination algorithm used in 3d engines that sorts polygons by their z values, then applies a series of tests to ensure that once sorted, if they are drawn from back to front, no visual problems occur. The pitfall of painter's algorithm is that when two or more polygons intersect or three or more polygons mutually overlap, there is no correct arrangement. The solution to this problem is z-buffering. painter's algorithm also suffers from the fact that it has a computation time that varies exponentially with the number of polygons in a scene, however, the number of polygons at which it becomes less efficient to use painter's algorithm than linearly expanding methods is quite large. painter's algorithm takes its name from a painting technique originating in the renisance whereby the painter would paint things in the background first, then, paint over them with things in the foreground.