The CD content, including demos and content, is available on the web and for download.
Part V: Performance and Practicalities
As GPUs become more complex, incorporating the GPU efficiently into your application can become challenging. This part of the book offers several perspectives on shader management and integration, as well as an overview of the graphics performance characteristics that shape integration decisions.
In Chapter 28, "Graphics Pipeline Performance," Cem Cebenoyan gives an overview of the modern graphics pipeline, including the programmable pipelines that give rise to many of the techniques discussed in this book. In this chapter, he describes a process to test for bottlenecks in the GPU pipeline, and he offers potential remedies for several bottlenecks.
Dean Sekulic of Croteam discusses the powerful but often-misused occlusion query feature in Chapter 29, "Efficient Occlusion Culling." Occlusion queries allow the GPU to return the amount of pixels that an object would represent on screen. If the object represents no pixels, due to z or stencil tests, it can be skipped. But because of the decoupled nature of the CPU and the GPU, an occlusion query can't be issued like a single-threaded function call, or else one would lose most or all of the performance benefit. Instead, Dean discusses several methods of ensuring that the results of the GPU occlusion query can be applied quickly and efficiently.
In Chapter 30, "The Design of FX Composer," Christopher Maughan discusses a powerful shader-authoring tool. FX Composer 1.0 provides a full IDE for shader authors, as well as an artist-tweakable GUI to adjust shader attributes. Chris describes design aspects of the tool, offering insight into cutting-edge shader integration.
Chapter 31, "Using FX Composer," also by Christopher Maughan, delves into the details of FX Composer usage, including shader authoring, setting up simple scenes, and applying shaders to objects. This chapter provides a good introduction to both shader authoring and tool usage.
In Chapter 32, "An Introduction to Shader Interfaces," Matt Pharr describes shader objects, which can simplify the integration of shaders into applications via the concept of shader interfaces. By specifying shader fragments as objects, with well-defined interfaces, you can efficiently combine these fragments at runtime automatically, improving both flexibility and performance.
In Chapter 33, "Converting Production RenderMan Shaders to Real Time," Stephen Marshall of Sony Pictures Imageworks tells how RenderMan-style offline shaders can be modified and leveraged in a GPU-aware production pipeline. Offline shaders are written with CPU advantages and limitations in mind; only by rethinking shaders in terms of modern GPUs can the maximum speed benefits be realized.
Cinema 4D is another modern, shader-capable authoring tool. Jörn Loviscach, in Chapter 34, "Integrating Hardware Shading into Cinema 4D," discusses how he integrated GPU shaders to emulate the existing CPU shading pipeline as closely as possible. Jörn offers a compelling example of how to seamlessly add GPU capability to a more traditional, existing workflow.
Although GPUs get more flexible and powerful each year, it will likely be quite a while before all content-creation rendering tasks can be handled on the graphics card. In Chapter 35, "Leveraging High-Quality Software Rendering Effects in Real-Time Applications," Alexandre Jean Claude and Marc Stevens discuss how they leveraged the GPU shader horsepower while still retaining the flexibility of a mature, existing software rendering and modeling pipeline.
Finally, John O'Rorke's chapter on shader integration, Chapter 36, "Integrating Shaders into Applications," focuses on the DirectX .fx file format and how it can be used. John demonstrates how to use .fx file features such as semantics and annotations, which enable simpler shader integration. He concludes with several ideas for customizing and extending .fx files, including shader inheritance.
Sim Dietrich, NVIDIA
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Library of Congress Control Number: 2004100582
GeForce™ and NVIDIA Quadro® are trademarks or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation.
RenderMan® is a registered trademark of Pixar Animation Studios.
"Shadow Map Antialiasing" © 2003 NVIDIA Corporation and Pixar Animation Studios.
"Cinematic Lighting" © 2003 Pixar Animation Studios.
Dawn images © 2002 NVIDIA Corporation. Vulcan images © 2003 NVIDIA Corporation.
Copyright © 2004 by NVIDIA Corporation.
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5 6 7 8 9 10 QWT 09 08 07
5th Printing September 2007
- Part I: Natural Effects
- Chapter 1. Effective Water Simulation from Physical Models
- Chapter 2. Rendering Water Caustics
- Chapter 3. Skin in the "Dawn" Demo
- Chapter 4. Animation in the "Dawn" Demo
- Chapter 5. Implementing Improved Perlin Noise
- Chapter 6. Fire in the "Vulcan" Demo
- Chapter 7. Rendering Countless Blades of Waving Grass
- Chapter 8. Simulating Diffraction
- Part II: Lighting and Shadows
- Chapter 10. Cinematic Lighting
- Chapter 11. Shadow Map Antialiasing
- Chapter 12. Omnidirectional Shadow Mapping
- Chapter 13. Generating Soft Shadows Using Occlusion Interval Maps
- Chapter 14. Perspective Shadow Maps: Care and Feeding
- Chapter 15. Managing Visibility for Per-Pixel Lighting
- Chapter 9. Efficient Shadow Volume Rendering
- Part III: Materials
- Part IV: Image Processing
- Part V: Performance and Practicalities
- Chapter 28. Graphics Pipeline Performance
- Chapter 29. Efficient Occlusion Culling
- Chapter 30. The Design of FX Composer
- Chapter 31. Using FX Composer
- Chapter 32. An Introduction to Shader Interfaces
- Chapter 33. Converting Production RenderMan Shaders to Real-Time
- Chapter 34. Integrating Hardware Shading into Cinema 4D
- Chapter 35. Leveraging High-Quality Software Rendering Effects in Real-Time Applications
- Chapter 36. Integrating Shaders into Applications
- Part VI: Beyond Triangles