# Thread: size of normalization cube map

1. ## size of normalization cube map

I've got tangent space bumpmapping working, thanks primarily to Paul's excellent tutorial, as well as numerous other tutorials and examples.
http://www.paulsprojects.net/tutoria...implebump.html

I've got a question about the normalization cubemap. Most examples I've seen use a cube map with dimensions of 32. I've used Mark Kilgards "A Practical and Robust Bump-mapping Technique for Today’s GPUs" document to create the normalization cube map, and have experimented with various sizes of cube maps.

I've seen that when values below 32 (16 and 8) are used, artifacts are visible on the surface, however no discernable visual difference is apparent with cubemap sizes above 32 (64 and 128). So I'm guessing that the examples I've seen use 32 for the size, as that consumes the minimal texture memory with good visual results.

Is that about right, or am I missing some critical detail?

[This message has been edited by yakuza (edited 02-29-2004).]

2. ## Re: size of normalization cube map

I am not sure the beginners forum is a good place for stuff like this.

Mikael

3. ## Re: size of normalization cube map

nVidia has just recently put up a new paper on their site ( developer.nvidia.com ), which talks about normalization.

THEY use a cubemap sized 256*256. And still they say, that it gives some artifacts in certain situations.

Using 32*32 sounds to me VERY bad, the changes between two normals should be quite big.

Certainly there are a lot of cases where you won´t notice the low resolution, especially on very bumpy surfaces. Try out a completely flat surface and make screenshots of it using different cubemap resolutions. Then compare them. It should help you to decide, which is the best resolution.

Jan.

PS: When using Specular Lighting, it should get much more noticable.

5. ## Re: size of normalization cube map

Thanks for the input. After some more experimenting last night, I noticed that the artifacts definitely vary based up on the surface. Thanks for the mention of the Nvidia paper, I'll go look for it and read it now.

6. ## Re: size of normalization cube map

> Using 32*32 sounds to me VERY bad, the changes between two normals should be quite big

"VERY bad" is probably an overstatement.

Actually as the first poster mentioned, 32x32 faces can indeed be adequate for general use, particularly for the diffuse lighting (L dot N) term.

The point to realize is that there are multiple sources of error in shading computations most of the time (particularly when done in fixed-point) so it makes no sense to "max out" the size of your normalization cube map if other errors are going to dominate.

Think about a 256x256 normalization cube map face. The normalization cube map function stored in the faces is fairly smooth (it forms a sphere after all). This means linear filtering works pretty well to provide intermediate values. For a typical 8-bit RGB texture, realize you only have 8 bits per component and if you use "signed expand" to multiply by 2 subtract 1 to move the [0,1] range to a [-1,1] range, you just used one of your 8 bits on a sign bit so there's 7 effective bits of magnitude.

So how useful would a 256x256 cube map be? It's basically at the limit of the representable 8 bits of the texel components.

If the filtering is limited to 8 bits, don't expect a lot more goodness.

And really the fact that your texel filtering is typically just 8 bits for a texture format with just 8 bits per texel component. That's really the source of your error, more than cube map size.

It would likely be better to use a 32x32 cube map face with more than 8 bits of filtering per texel component than increase the cube map face size.

Try it yourself to see the difference.

GeForce FX GPUs support the GL_HILO8_NV (and GL_SIGNED_HILO8_NV) texture formats. These formats provide 2 8-bit components that are filtered with 16-bit precision. By ganging two HILO8 textures, you can get 3 (really 4) components filtered at 16-bit precision.

Do something like:

TEX R0, f[TEX0], TEX0,CUBE; // HILO8 for xy
TEX R1, f[TEX0], TEX1,CUBE; // HILO8 for z
MUL R2, R0.xyww, R1.wwxy; // combine xyz

The MUL relies on a trick of the HILO format where the W component of a HILO texture fetch result is always 1.0.

Now store your normalization cube map spread across the xy components of texture unit 0's HILO8 cube map and the z (and w if wanted a 4th component for some reason) component in the x component of texture unit 1's HILO8 cube map.

You could do the same thing with HILO16 as well if you wanted more precision stored in the normalization cube map.

You can do a whole bunch of experiments and decide which is best for your application.

The case where having more normalization precision is most helpful is when you are doing specular lighting computations. This is where you compute

pow(max(0,dot(N,H)),shininess)

where N is your normal, H is your half-angle (the normalized sum of the view vector and the light vector), and shininess is your surfaces specular shininess term.

Because you are raising dot(H,N) to a power (a very non-linear function), any normalization limitations (whether due to filtering or cube map face precision or any other reason) are exacerbated.

Note that just because you improve the quality of the normalization you use for your specular compuation in specular per-pixel lighting when doing surface-space bump mapping, there are still other errors such as the bumpy surface really having a distribution of surface normals at a viewed pixel rather than just one.

Also, there can be errors if you are computing the half-angle vector per-vertex (a good technique for performance) rather than per-fragment. You might notice the difference on big wall polygons, but you can fix that by tesselating the wall better. Obviously, if you don't care about squeezing out the most rendering performance for reasonable visual look, you can just do per-fragment half-angle computations (but most developers care about performance).

My personal experience is that 32x32 or 64x64 normalization cube maps are "good enough" when you use RGB8 textures to store your normalization cube maps. By that I mean, a higher-precision cube map doesn't significant improve the appearance of bumpy objects in the scene. Your mileage may vary if you have very smooth surfaces where normalization quantization becomes a visible artifact, you have high shininess terms, or you are just really picky. :-)

There generally a marginal performance cost when you pick a larger cube map face size than your really need. Same with the texel precision.

I hope this helps.

- Mark

7. ## Re: size of normalization cube map

Nice tut. When I did ppl I first used 32x32 then seeing horrible banding I experimented and now use 128x128.

8. ## Re: size of normalization cube map

There is visible difference when interplorating or computing halfs in fp, experiment with bump mapping, or even better with fresnel.

9. ## Re: size of normalization cube map

Originally posted by M/\dm/\n:
There is visible difference when interplorating or computing halfs in fp, experiment with bump mapping, or even better with fresnel.
What do you mean by "computing"? I "compute" my half-angle per vertex, but i normalize it per fragment. I never saw anything which looked wrong or at least bad.

Do you mean with "compute" to normalize it per fragment, or to do the whole processs ?

Jan.

10. ## Re: size of normalization cube map

Originally posted by Mark Kilgard:
[BGeForce FX GPUs support the GL_HILO8_NV (and GL_SIGNED_HILO8_NV) texture formats. These formats provide 2 8-bit components that are filtered with 16-bit precision. By ganging two HILO8 textures, you can get 3 (really 4) components filtered at 16-bit precision.

Do something like:

TEX R0, f[TEX0], TEX0,CUBE; // HILO8 for xy
TEX R1, f[TEX0], TEX1,CUBE; // HILO8 for z
MUL R2, R0.xyww, R1.wwxy; // combine xyz

The MUL relies on a trick of the HILO format where the W component of a HILO texture fetch result is always 1.0.

- Mark[/B]
Why not
Code :
``` TEX R0.xy, f[TEX0], TEX0,CUBE; // HILO8 for xy
TEX R1.z, f[TEX0], TEX1,CUBE; // HILO8 for z```
?

If I'm not mistaken, ATI's cards support cubemaps till RGBA32

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•