Branches and texture sampling

This is a quick one to share my recent experience with branching and texture sampling in a relatively heavy screen-space shader from our codebase. The (HLSL) shader loaded a texture and used a channel as a mask to early out to avoid the heavy computation and many texture reads that followed. Typically we’d use a discard to early out, but in that case the shader needed to output a meaningful value in all cases. Continue reading “Branches and texture sampling”

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Branches and texture sampling

Readings on Physically Based Rendering

Over the past two years I’ve done quite a bit of reading on Physically Based Rendering (PBR) and I have collected a lot of references and links which I’ve always had in the back of my mind to share through this blog but never got around doing it. Christmas holidays is probably the best chance I’ll have so I might as well do it now. The list is by no means exhaustive, if you think that I have missed any important references please add them with a comment and I will update it. Continue reading “Readings on Physically Based Rendering”

Readings on Physically Based Rendering

An educational, normalised, Blinn-Phong shader

Recently I had a discussion with an artist about Physically based rendering and the normalized BlinnPhong reflection model. He seemed to have some trouble visualising how it works and the impact it might have in-game.

So I dug into my shader toybox, where I keep lots of them in there and occasionally take them out to play, found a normalized BlinnPhong one and modified it a bit so as to add “switches” to its various components. Then I gave it to him to play with in FX composer and get a feeling of the impact of the various features. After a while he admitted that it helped him understand how a PBR-based reflection works a bit better, and also that a normalized specular model is better than a plain one. One artist down, a few thousands to convert! Continue reading “An educational, normalised, Blinn-Phong shader”

An educational, normalised, Blinn-Phong shader

Dual depth buffering for translucency rendering

A nice and cheap technique to approximate translucency was presented some time ago at GDC. The original algorithm depended on calculating the “thickness” of the model offline and baking it in a texture (or maybe vertices). Dynamically calculating thickness is often more appealing though since, as in reality, the perceived thickness of an object depends on the view point (or the light’s viewpoint) and also it is easier to capture the thickness of varying volumetric bodies such as smoke and hair. Continue reading “Dual depth buffering for translucency rendering”

Dual depth buffering for translucency rendering

Correctly interpolating view/light vectors on large triangles

A few days ago an artist came to me scratching his head about a weird distortion he was getting on the specular highlight of his point light with an FX composer generated blinn shader. His geometry was comprised of large polygons and the effect of applying the reflection model to the surface was something like that: Continue reading “Correctly interpolating view/light vectors on large triangles”

Correctly interpolating view/light vectors on large triangles

Parallax-corrected cubemapping with any cubemap

Recently I was using a parallax corrected cubemapping technique to add some glass reflections to a project (you can read about parallax corrected cubemapping in this excellent writeup). In general, doing planar reflections with cubemaps is not that easy, the cubemap is considered “infinite” and since it is accessed only with the reflection vector it has no notion of location (that means it does not register well with the scene, it seems detached from it and the reflections do not correspond to actual scene items/features). Continue reading “Parallax-corrected cubemapping with any cubemap”

Parallax-corrected cubemapping with any cubemap