Adaptive normal map compression for 3D video games

TitleAdaptive normal map compression for 3D video games
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsWong, A., and W. Bishop
Conference NameFuturePlay 2006
Keywords3D video games, adaptive compression, normal maps

Next-generation 3D video games make use of normal maps to improve the realism and the visual detail of scenes and models. The use of normal maps typically leads to increases in data storage and bus bandwidth requirements. To cope with the increased demands of normal maps, compression techniques can be used. Unfortunately, most texture compression techniques are poorly suited for normal map compression. The application of such techniques on normal maps often leads to a degradation of visual quality. This paper presents an adaptive approach to the task of compressing normal maps used by next-generation 3D video games. The proposed method attempts to retain visual detail while reducing storage requirements. Experimental results demonstrate overall compression performance and visual quality that is superior to the performance of existing techniques. The proposed method can be used to deliver improved photo-realism in 3D video games.