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Submitted by , posted on 16 October 2003



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Here are some screen captures using SMARTSHADER effects on Id's Quake 3. SMARTSHADER effects are a new feature added in ATI's CATALYST 3.8 software suite. These effects perform post processing on any double buffered OpenGL or D3D application with the programmable fragment shader hardware found RADEON 9500 and higher graphics cards (RADEON 8500-9200 have a limited number of effects exposed in OpenGL).

Internally I refer to these special effects with the more descriptive term specialSwap. I say more descriptive because these effects apply the special fragment shaders to the back buffer just as it is swapped to the front buffer. Since most people here are application/game developers and not driver developers it's worth noting all of these effects can be done on graphics cards by using pBuffers and the ARB_fragment_program OpenGL extension.

The top left picture uses the Classic effect. Here fragment shaders are used to convert an image into a sepia tone color space. The top right picture uses is the Stylize effect. This effect uses fragment shaders to convert low intensity pixels to gray scale. The bottom left picture is the Sketch effect. This effect uses fragment shaders to perform a Sobel edge detection algorithm. The last picture is the ASCII effect. To really be impressed with this effect you need to see it at high resolution and in motion. The basic idea behind this effect is to find the average value of block of pixels and then use a texture lookup to access the corresponding ASCII character for that block's intensity.

SMARTSHADER currently has 10 effects with plans to add more. The fragment shaders used for the Classic, Sketch, and ASCII effects are described in the book "ShaderX2 - Shader Tips & Tricks".

Maurice Ribble



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