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Quote:Introduction to MIP Mapping
Multim Im Parvo [MIP] mapping is a texturing technique used to improve the visual quality of computer generated graphics and 3D animations. Displaying 3D graphics on a flat computer screen is not an easy task. While height and width are easy to manage, it is difficult to create the impression of depth. On a computer, depth is achieved by displaying objects or scenery in a smaller size as distance from the camera viewpoint increases.
MIP Mapping: Without and with
However, when an object gets too small, the computer screen is no longer able to display all its details. When this happens, some details are skipped, and visual information is lost. This results in jagged edges due to an interference pattern known as moire. MIP mapping is used by graphic designers and 3D games to address this problem.
How Does MIP Mapping Work?
In computer generated graphics, objects are created by painting texture maps onto wire frame models [see texture mapping]. The texture maps contain all the surface details of the objects. MIP mapping prevents moire and improves antialiasing by manipulating these texture maps.
MIP mapping scales and filters a texture map into multiple versions before applying it to the wire frame model. These versions are of varying resolution and details. At close distances to the camera viewpoint, the texture map appears in its original full detail. For medium distances, a smaller texture that is half the resolution of the original is used. Even further distances display texture maps that are a quarter the resolution and so on. Each of these stages is known as a MIP map level.
By choosing the appropriate texture map resolution and detail, MIP mapping ensures that pixels do not get lost at further distances. Instead, properly averaged smaller versions of the original texture map are used. Since low resolution textures are used for further distances, other benefits of MIP mapping include reduced memory bandwidth requirements.