LEAN Mapping: research experience at a game company
by Marc Olano
Friday, September 10, 2010, 11:00am - Friday, September 10, 2010, 12:00pm
325b ITE, UMBC
Normal maps are a common method to increase apparent surface detail in games and other interactive 3D graphics applications. However, when seen at a distance, normal mapped surfaces tend to look too smooth and shiny since the surface detail they provide is smoothed away without any corresponding change to the aggregate surface reflectance. While on sabbatical at Firaxis Games, Dr. Olano developed Linear Efficient Antialiased Normal (LEAN) Mapping, a fast and efficient solution to this problem. LEAN mapping is ultimately a simple addition to existing normal mapping, but its development draws on knowledge of Physics, signal processing, probability, and graphics hardware. This method is being used in the Civilization V game, due to be released this Fall. This talk will present the normal mapping problem, LEAN map solution, and insights into what kinds of research solutions are feasible for incorporation into current video games.