Microsoft Patent | Tracking Pixel Lineage in Variable Rate Shading

Patent: Tracking Pixel Lineage in Variable Rate Shading

Publication Number: 20190005712

Publication Date: 2019-01-03

Applicants: Microsoft

Abstract

Methods and devices for performing variable rate shading are described. Invocation information and lineage information for each pixel of a plurality of pixels of a primitive are stored in an invocation buffer and a lineage buffer of a graphics processing unit. One or more deferred shading or post-processing operations are performed on the image based at least in part on the invocation information and the lineage information associated with each pixel of the plurality of pixels.

Background

The present examples relate to a computer device, and more particularly, to performing variable rate shading in rendering graphics on a computer device.

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 variable rate shading or other sparse rendering techniques (e.g., checkerboard rendering), a pixel of a primitive may be written by the pixel shader, such pixel referred to as an anchor pixel, or may be a copy of a written pixel, referred to as a broadcast pixel. Further, in variable rate shading, during subsequent rendering of another primitive, the anchor pixel may be overwritten, which results in the broadcast pixel being orphaned. The existing mechanisms, such as in checkerboard rendering, may track pixels and coverage by loading and comparing multiple 32 bit per pixel identification (ID) values which are inefficient. Therefore, there is a desire for improvements in graphics rendering.

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 rasterizing, by a graphics processing unit (GPU), a primitive of an image based on one or more corresponding shading rates, wherein the primitive includes a plurality of pixels, wherein the rasterizing generates metadata that indicates whether each pixel is an anchor pixel, a broadcast pixel, or an orphan pixel, wherein each anchor pixel is a pixel for which a pixel shader was previously invoked, wherein each broadcast pixel has shading copied from a referenced anchor pixel, and wherein each orphan pixel has a previously referenced anchor pixel overwritten; storing, by the GPU, invocation information for each pixel of the plurality of pixels in an invocation buffer and lineage information for each pixel of the plurality of pixels in a lineage buffer, wherein the invocation information indicates whether the respective pixel is the anchor pixel, wherein the lineage information indicates whether the respective pixel is the broadcast pixel, and wherein a combination of the invocation information and the lineage information indicates whether the respective pixel is the orphan pixel; and performing one or more deferred shading or post-processing operations on the image based at least in part on the invocation information and the lineage information associated with each pixel of the plurality of pixels.

In another example, a computer device includes a memory and a GPU in communication with the memory. The GPU is configured to rasterize, by a graphics processing unit (GPU), a primitive of an image based on one or more corresponding shading rates, wherein the primitive includes a plurality of pixels, wherein the rasterizing generates metadata that indicates whether each pixel is an anchor pixel, a broadcast pixel, or an orphan pixel, wherein each anchor pixel is a pixel for which a pixel shader was previously invoked, wherein each broadcast pixel has shading copied from a referenced anchor pixel, and wherein each orphan pixel has a previously referenced anchor pixel overwritten; store, by the GPU, invocation information for each pixel of the plurality of pixels in an invocation buffer and lineage information for each pixel of the plurality of pixels in a lineage buffer, wherein the invocation information indicates whether the respective pixel is the anchor pixel, wherein the lineage information indicates whether the respective pixel is the broadcast pixel, and wherein a combination of the invocation information and the lineage information indicates whether the respective pixel is the orphan pixel; and perform one or more deferred shading or post-processing operations on the image based at least in part on the invocation information and the lineage information associated with each pixel of the plurality of pixels.

In a further example, a computer-readable medium storing computer-executable instructions executable by a processor for variable rate shading in a computer device includes various instructions. The computer-readable medium includes instructions for instructions for rasterizing, by a graphics processing unit (GPU), a primitive of an image based on one or more corresponding shading rates, wherein the primitive includes a plurality of pixels, wherein the rasterizing generates metadata that indicates whether each pixel is an anchor pixel, a broadcast pixel, or an orphan pixel, wherein each anchor pixel is a pixel for which a pixel shader was previously invoked, wherein each broadcast pixel has shading copied from a referenced anchor pixel, and wherein each orphan pixel has a previously referenced anchor pixel overwritten; instructions for storing, by the GPU, invocation information for each pixel of the plurality of pixels in an invocation buffer and lineage information for each pixel of the plurality of pixels in a lineage buffer, wherein the invocation information indicates whether the respective pixel is the anchor pixel, wherein the lineage information indicates whether the respective pixel is the broadcast pixel, and wherein a combination of the invocation information and the lineage information indicates whether the respective pixel is the orphan pixel; and instructions for performing one or more deferred shading or post-processing operations on the image based at least in part on the invocation information and the lineage information associated with each pixel of the plurality of pixels.

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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