Microsoft Patent | Variable Rate Deferred Passes in Graphics Rendering

Patent: Variable Rate Deferred Passes in Graphics Rendering

Publication Number: 20190005713

Publication Date: 2019-01-03

Applicants: Microsoft

Abstract

Methods and devices for performing pixel shading in graphics processing are described. Multiple primitives of an image can be shaded at one or more variable shading rates. A subset of pixels, in at least one screen-space tile corresponding to a portion of the image, corresponding to samples that are shaded in the shading at the one or more variable shading rates, can be determined. One or more deferred passes can be applied to the subset of pixels in the at least one screen-space tile to provide additional shading of the subset of pixels. After completing the deferred passes, the set of pixels not processed by the deferred passes can be filled using adjacent shaded pixels.

Background

Computer graphics systems, which can render 2D objects or objects from a 3D world (real or imaginary) onto a two-dimensional (2D) display screen, are currently used in a wide variety of applications. For example, 3D computer graphics can be used for real-time interactive applications, such as video games, virtual reality, scientific research, etc., as well as off-line applications, such as the creation of high resolution movies, graphic art, etc. Typically, the graphics system includes a graphics processing unit (GPU). A GPU may be implemented as a co-processor component to a central processing unit (CPU) of the computer, and may be provided in the form of an add-in card (e.g., video card), co-processor, or as functionality that is integrated directly into the motherboard of the computer or into other devices, such as a gaming device.

Typically, the GPU has a “logical graphics pipeline,” which may accept as input some representation of a 2D or 3D scene and output a bitmap that defines a 2D image for display. For example, the DIRECTX collection of application programming interfaces by MICROSOFT CORPORATION, including the DIRECT3D API, is an example of APIs that have graphic pipeline models. Another example includes the Open Graphics Library (OPENGL) API. The graphics pipeline typically includes a number of stages to convert a group of vertices, textures, buffers, and state information into an image frame on the screen. For instance, one of the stages of the graphics pipeline is a shader. A shader is a piece of code running on a specialized processing unit, also referred to as a shader unit or shader processor, usually executing multiple data threads at once, programmed to generate appropriate levels of color and/or special effects to fragments being rendered. In particular, for example, a vertex shader processes traits (position, texture coordinates, color, etc.) of a vertex, and a pixel shader processes traits (texture values, color, z-depth and alpha value) of a pixel.

In forward rendering, the shaders perform all steps for shading each primitive in the image while rasterizing the primitives to a set of pixels of the final image. Deferred rendering can be employed to delay one or more shading steps or passes typically performed by a pixel shader for each primitive to instead occur after rasterizing the primitives. For example, in deferred rendering, a geometry pass can be performed to generate one or more intermediate render targets, including, for example, position, normal, specular, intensity, etc. Then, additional separate passes can be performed (e.g., lighting, screen space effects such as ambient occlusion, reflections, sub surface scattering, shadow accumulation, etc.) for the pixels in the image based on the one or more intermediate render targets. This approach is typically more efficient, as when shading primitives, the shaded values may subsequently be overwritten by another primitive.

Deferred rendering typically performs the one or more deferred passes for each pixel in the image. Some mechanisms have been proposed to reduce the number of pixels for which deferred rendering is performed to achieve more efficient rendering. For example, some mechanisms include reducing resolution to a lesser number of pixels (and thus a lesser number of pixels to shade in the deferred rendering step), interlaced rendering where alternating lines are rendered in a given screen refresh (thus decreasing the number of pixels that are rendered/shaded to half for the screen refresh), or using a checkerboard rendering pattern where blocks of pixels are rendered or not in a checkboard pattern in a given screen refresh. These are naive solutions that reduce resolution across the screen, which can thereby result in unsatisfactory image quality.

Summary

The following presents a simplified summary of one or more examples in order to provide a basic understanding of such examples. This summary is not an extensive overview of all contemplated examples, and is intended to neither identify key or critical elements of all examples nor delineate the scope of any or all examples. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts of one or more examples in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

One example relates to a method for performing pixel shading in graphics processing. The method includes shading, by a graphic processing unit (GPU) and at one or more variable shading rates, multiple primitives of an image, determining, by the GPU, a subset of pixels, in at least one screen-space tile corresponding to a portion of the image, corresponding to samples that are shaded in the shading at the one or more variable shading rates, where the subset of pixels is less than or equal to all pixels in at least one screen-space tile, applying, by the GPU, one or more deferred passes to the subset of pixels in the at least one screen-space tile to provide additional shading of the subset of pixels, and generating, by the GPU, a portion of a render target corresponding to the at least one screen-space tile having the one or more deferred passes applied.

In another example, a computer device includes a memory and a GPU in communication with the memory. The GPU is configured to shade, at one or more variable shading rates, multiple primitives of an image, determine a subset of pixels, in at least one screen-space tile corresponding to a portion of the image, corresponding to samples that are shaded in the shading at the one or more variable shading rates, wherein the subset of pixels is less than or equal to all pixels in the at least one screen-space tile, apply one or more deferred passes to the subset of pixels in the at least one screen-space tile to provide additional shading of the subset of pixels, and generate a portion of a render target corresponding to the at least one screen-space tile having the one or more deferred passes applied.

In a further example, a computer-readable medium storing computer-executable instructions executable by a processor for rendering graphics in a computer device includes various instructions. The computer-readable medium includes instructions for shading, by a GPU and at one or more variable shading rates, multiple primitives of an image, instructions for determining, by the GPU, a subset of pixels, in at least one screen-space tile corresponding to a portion of the image, corresponding to samples that are shaded in the shading at the one or more variable shading rates, wherein the subset of pixels is less than or equal to all pixels in the at least one screen-space tile, instructions for applying, by the GPU, one or more deferred passes to the subset of pixels in the at least one screen-space tile to provide additional shading of the subset of pixels, and instructions for generating, by the GPU, a portion of a render target corresponding to the at least one screen-space tile having the one or more deferred passes applied.

Additional advantages and novel features relating to examples of the present invention will be set forth in part in the description that follows, and in part will become more apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following or upon learning by practice thereof.

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