ATI TRUFORM Technology - Powering the next generation Radeonby Matthew Witheiler on May 29, 2001 6:00 AM EST
- Posted in
More Detail: Curved Surfaces
The answer to image quality problems has recently been solved in another fashion: with the use of curved surfaces. The stunning computer graphics seen in movies such as Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, and the upcoming Final Fantasy movie are all created using curved surfaces. The reason that these graphics look so much more realistic is due to the fact that creating 3D images out of linear 2D polygons creates a sense of blockyness that is not present when creating shapes out of curved (cubic) surfaces.
Ideally, to get real-time rendered games to look like the prerendered scenes of computer graphic movies, curved surface rendering will have to be implemented in video card technology. In theory, artists could do this now, but the problem comes not with creating images from curved surfaces but with displaying them on your home computer.
All graphics cards available to the home user are designed to render collections of polygons, not curved surfaces. Since the two rendering formats are incompatible, any game designed from curved surfaces will not work on a card set to render polygons. Likewise, any card set to render curved surfaces can not render scenes designed around polygons (in other words, every game made for the home computer).
This is where ATI comes in. Since it would be impossible to implement and sell a consumer-level curve-based rendering system, they decided to borrow aspects of both curved surface and polygon models.