Home > Articles > Programming > Graphic Programming

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Texture Compression

Texture mapping can add incredible realism to any 3D rendered scene, with a minimal cost in vertex processing. One drawback to using textures, however, is that they require a lot of memory to store and process. Early attempts at texture compression were crudely storing textures as JPG files and decompressing the textures when loaded before calling glTexImage. These attempts saved disk space or reduced the amount of time required to transmit the image over the network (such as the Internet), but did nothing to alleviate the storage requirements of texture images loaded into graphics hardware memory.

Native support for texture compression was added to OpenGL with version 1.3. Earlier versions of OpenGL may also support texture compression via extension functions of the same name. You can test for this extension by using the GL_ARB_texture_compression string.

Texture compression support in OpenGL hardware can go beyond simply allowing you to load a compressed texture; in most implementations, the texture data stays compressed even in the graphics hardware memory. This allows you to load more texture into less memory and can significantly improve texturing performance due to fewer texture swaps (moving textures around) and fewer memory accesses during texture filtering.

Compressing Textures

Texture data does not have to be initially compressed to take advantage of OpenGL support for compressed textures. You can request that OpenGL compress a texture image when loaded by using one of the values in Table 9.1 for the internalFormat parameter of any of the glTexImage functions.

Table 9.1. Compressed Texture Formats

Compressed Format

Base Internal Format

GL_COMPRESSED_ALPHA

GL_ALPHA

GL_COMPRESSED_LUMINANCE

GL_LUMINANCE

GL_COMPRESSED_LUMINANCE_ALPHA

GL_LUMINANCE_ALPHA

GL_COMPRESSED_INTENSITY

GL_INTENSITY

GL_COMPRESSED_RGB

GL_RGB

GL_COMPRESSED_RGBA

GL_RGBA

Compressing images this way adds a bit of overhead to texture loads but can increase texture performance due to the more efficient usage of texture memory. If, for some reason, the texture cannot be compressed, OpenGL uses the base internal format listed instead and loads the texture uncompressed.

When you attempt to load and compress a texture in this way, you can find out whether the texture was successfully compressed by using glGetTexLevelParameteriv with GL_TEXTURE_COMPRESSED as the parameter name:

GLint compFlag;
. . .
glGetTexLevelParameteriv(GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_TEXTURE_COMPRESSED, &compFlag);

The glGetTexLevelParameteriv function accepts a number of new parameter names pertaining to compressed textures. These parameters are listed in Table 9.2.

Table 9.2. Compressed Texture Parameters Retrieved with glGetTexLevelParameter

Parameter

Returns

GL_TEXTURE_COMPRESSED

The value 1 if the texture is compressed, 0 if not

GL_TEXTURE_COMPRESSED_IMAGE_SIZE

The size in bytes of the compressed texture

GL_TEXTURE_INTERNAL_FORMAT

The compression format used

GL_NUM_COMPRESSED_TEXTURE_FORMATS

The number of supported compressed texture formats

GL_COMPRESSED_TEXTURE_FORMATS

An array of constant values corresponding to each supported compressed texture format

GL_TEXTURE_COMPRESSION_HINT

The value of the texture compression hint (GL_NICEST/GL_FASTEST)

When textures are compressed using the values listed in Table 9.1, OpenGL chooses the most appropriate texture compression format. You can use glHint to specify whether you want OpenGL to choose based on the fastest or highest quality algorithm:

glHint(GL_TEXTURE_COMPRESSION_HINT, GL_FASTEST);
glHint(GL_TEXTURE_COMPRESSION_HINT, GL_NICEST);
glHint(GL_TEXTURE_COMPRESSION_HINT, GL_DONT_CARE);

The exact compression format varies from implementation to implementation. You can obtain a count of compression formats and a list of the values by using GL_NUM_COMPRESSED_TEXTURE_FORMATS and GL_COMPRESSED_TEXTURE_FORMATS. To check for support for a specific set of compressed texture formats, you need to check for a specific extension for those formats. For example, nearly all implementations support the GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc texture compression format. If this extension is supported, the compressed texture formats listed in Table 9.3 are all supported, but only for two-dimensional textures.

Table 9.3. Compression Formats for GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc

Format

Description

GL_COMPRESSED_RGB_S3TC_DXT1

RGB data is compressed; alpha is always 1.0.

GL_COMPRESSED_RGBA_S3TC_DXT1

RGB data is compressed; alpha is either 1.0 or 0.0.

GL_COMPRESSED_RGBA_S3TC_DXT3

RGB data is compressed; alpha is stored as 4 bits.

GL_COMPRESSED_RGBA_S3TC_DXT5

RGB data is compressed; alpha is a weighted average of 8-bit values.

Loading Compressed Textures

Using the functions in the preceding section, you can have OpenGL compress textures in a natively supported format, retrieve the compressed data with the glGetCompressedTexImage function (identical to the glGetTexImage function for uncompressed textures), and save it to disk. On subsequent loads, the raw compressed data can be used, resulting in substantially faster texture loads. Be advised, however, that some vendors may cheat a little when it comes to texture loading in order to optimize texture storage or filtering operations. This technique will work only on fully conformant hardware implementations.

To load precompressed texture data, use one of the following functions:

void glCompressedTexImage1D(GLenum target, GLint level, GLenum internalFormat,
                        GLsizei width,
                        GLint border, GLsizei imageSize, void *data);
void glCompressedTexImage2D(GLenum target, GLint level, GLenum internalFormat,
                        GLsizei width, GLsizei height,
                        GLint border, GLsizei imageSize, void *data);
void glCompressedTexImage3D(GLenum target, GLint level, GLenum internalFormat,
                        GLsizei width, GLsizei height, GLsizei depth,
                        GLint border, Glsizei imageSize, GLvoid *data);

These functions are virtually identical to the glTexImage functions from the preceding chapter. The only difference is that the internalFormat parameter must specify a supported compressed texture image. If the implementation supports the GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc extension, this would be one of the values from Table 9.3. There is also a corresponding set of glCompressedTexSubImage functions for updating a portion or all of an already-loaded texture that mirrors the glTexSubImage functionality from the preceding chapter.

Texture compression is a very popular texture feature. Smaller textures take up less storage, transmit faster over networks, load faster off disk, copy faster to graphics memory, allow for substantially more texture to be loaded onto hardware, and generally texture slightly faster to boot! Don't forget, though, as with so many things in life, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Something may be lost in the compression. The GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc method, for example, works by stripping color data out of each texel. For some textures, this results in substantial image quality loss (particularly for textures that contain smooth color gradients). Other times, textures with a great deal of detail are visually nearly identical to the original uncompressed version. The choice of texture compression method (or indeed no compression) can vary greatly depending on the nature of the underlying image.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020