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Index rendering: hardware-efficient architecture for 3-D graphics in multimedia system

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4 Author(s)
Bor-Sung Liang ; Sunplus Technol., Hsinchu, Taiwan ; Yuan-Chung Lee ; Wen-Chang Yeh ; Chein-Wei Jen

Real-time three-dimensional (3D) graphics is emerging rapidly in multimedia applications, but it suffers from requirements for huge computation, high bandwidth, and large buffer. In order to achieve hardware efficiency for 3D graphics rendering, we propose a novel approach named index rendering. The basic concept of index rendering is to realize a 3D rendering pipeline by using asynchronous multi-dataflows. Triangle information can be divided into several parts with each part capable of being transferred independently and asynchronously. Finally, all data are converged by the index to generate the final image. The index rendering approach can eliminate unnecessary operations in the traditional 3D graphics pipeline, the unnecessary operations are caused by the invisible pixels and triangles in the 3D scene. Previous work, deferred shading, eliminates the operations relating to invisible pixels, but it requires huge tradeoffs in bandwidth and buffer size. With index rendering, we can eliminate operations on both invisible pixels and triangles with fewer tradeoffs as compared with the deferred shading approach. The simulation and analysis results show that the index rendering approach can reduce 10%-70% of lighting operations when using the flat and Gouraud shading process and decrease 30%-95% when using Phong shading. Furthermore, it saves 70% of buffer size and 50%-70% of bandwidth compared with the deferred shading approach. The result also indicates that this approach of index rendering is especially suitable for low-cost portable rendering devices. Hence, index rendering is a hardware-efficient architecture for 3D graphics, and it makes rendering hardware more easily integrated into multimedia systems, especially system-on-a-chip (SOC) designs.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Multimedia  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 3 )