Order independent transparency, part 1

Correctly sorting transparent meshes is one of the hard problems in realtime rendering. The typical solution to this is to sort the meshes by distance and render them back to front. This can’t address all transparency sorting artifacts, in cases when meshes intersect or self sorting artifacts in transparent meshes. Also correctly sorting particles with transparent meshes can be a challenge sometimes.

For an extreme but illustrative example, here is screenshot of Sponza rendered with transparent materials using hardware alpha blending with the over operator c1*a1 + c2*(1-a1). To mix things up I have added a particle system using additive blending (the yellow one)

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Order independent transparency, part 1