Automatic shader level of detail

Marc Olano, Bob Kuehne, Maryann Simmons
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
In HWWS ’03: Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS conference on Graphics hardware (2003), pp. 7-14


   title={Automatic shader level of detail},

   author={Olano, M. and Kuehne, B. and Simmons, M.},

   booktitle={Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS conference on Graphics hardware},




   organization={Eurographics Association}


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Current graphics hardware can render procedurally shaded objects in real-time. However, due to resource and performance limitations, interactive shaders can not yet approach the complexity of shaders written for film production and software rendering, which may stretch to thousands of lines. These constraints limit not only the complexity of a single shader, but also the number of shaded objects that can be rendered at interactive rates. This problem has many similarities to the rendering of large models, the source of extensive research in geometric simplification and level of detail. We introduce an analogous process for shading: shader simplification. Starting from an initial detailed shader, shader simplification automatically produces a set of simplified shaders or a single new shader with extra level-of-detail parameters that control the shader execution. The resulting level-of-detail shader can automatically adjust its rendered appearance based on measures of distance, size, or importance, as well as physical limits such as rendering time budget or texture usage. We demonstrate shader simplification with a system that automatically creates shader levels of detail to reduce the number of texture accesses, one common limiting factor for current hardware.
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