Thursday, September 13, 2012

Backface Culling/Clipping of ICE Strands


 

Backface Culling


In computer graphics backface culling determines whether something is "visible" in the camera's field of view. This process makes rendering fur a lot quicker as you only render the fur that is "seen" instead of rendering the fur that is hidden from the camera.

Image U is what the Camera sees.....

Image U
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  If there was no backface culling there would be a lot of fur in the scene to calculate. Like in the Image F....
  Image F
 
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But if you use ICE to create backface culling you can reduce the amount of fur that the renderer needs to calculate by quite a lot, as you can see from Image Y...

Image Y
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So how do we do Backface Culling and Clipping in ICE?


The most common way of calculating "backface culling", would be to use a "dot product" to determine the normals of the mesh the fur is grown from then delete the fur that is not "seen" by the camera.
As you can see from the image below named "Clipping" we can see that Clipping deletes the fur that is outside the F.O.V of the camera, shown by the blue lines.  For the actual "Culling" I used a similar approach to the dot product, but ignore the edge of the cameras F.O.V. Instead we focus on the side of the object that faces away from the camera, illustrated by the red line in the image called "Culling".


"Clipping"
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"Culling"
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When you combine the two you get Image Y, shown earlier.
Lets take a look at ICE and see how this all gets done.  Here in Image Q is the node we used on Khumba to Cull the fur.

Image Q
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The Red Square is a scalar that makes it possible for us to adjust the Culling after we added the original values from the camera, just like a fall off.
The Blue Square is exactly the same except it gives us a fall off for the Clipping.
So within ICE we can adjust the Field Of View(F.O.V) as we need it. Without having to touch the camera settings/setup's. The Blue lines in Images H,J and I represent the actual camera F.O.V, while the Red lines shows how ICE adjusts the F.O.V.

Image H
  
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Image J
 
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 Image I
 
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When we explore inside, the node is made up of three sections, Image A and Image B and then brought together with Image C

Image A
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Image A has to do with the Culling. We get the angle between the emitter object and the camera (inside the Blue square), then we get the angle of the Field of View of the camera (inside the Red square),  using the greater than or equal to Boolean node (inside the Orange square) we say that anything outside that angle gets deleted. So imagine a Triangle, everything inside the triangle stays, everything outside goes (deleted).

Image B deals with the clipping of the fur. Here we use a standard node in ICE called "Test Visibility From Camera", we have modified it a bit to work for our needs. We obviously don't just want to test visibility from the camera when it comes to culling fur. It works out the length of the four sides of the camera view (inside the Red square) -- making a square in space -- using a dot product sum between the fur (inside the Blue square) and the camera (inside the Green square), then we just say delete everything outside of that square (inside the Yellow square). To do this we need the cameras position in space (inside the Green square) and the F.O.V and aspect ratio of the camera (inside the Purple square).


Image B
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Image C brings the Culling and the Clipping together with an IF statement. If there is fur inside the clipping square that is behind the character then that fur will also get deleted.


 Image C
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This is what it all looks like over time with a moving camera.

video


And that is culling fur in a nut shell. There are tons of Clipping Algorithms
that you can go look at here

:D


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