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If we can see it, we can draw it

To get good performance it is best to avoid rendering things that will not be visible. In software rendering each triangle matters but with hardware rendering the focus is on avoiding rendering whole chunks of surfaces.

Visible Surface Determination
The process that check what of a surface is visible is called VSD and that it these days mostly solved by a z-buffer.

Removing object from rendering before they are sent to the graphic hardware is called culling.

Masked Depth Culling for Graphics Hardware - 2015
Solving Visibility and Streaming in the The Witcher 3: Wild - 2014
Making Game Worlds from Polygon Soup: Visibility, Spatial Hierarchy and Rendering Challenges - 2011
CHC++: Coherent Hierarchical Culling Revisited - 2008
Run-Length Compression of Large Sparse Potential Visible Sets - 2007
Volumetric cell-and-portal generation - 2003