Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Understanding BCn Texture Compression Formats

Texture compression can be something of a black box with many people happy to just "turn it on" to save memory or increase performance and think little else about it, but in practice the different DXT compression formats that have been available in DirectX for years have significant behavioural characteristics that can make a radical difference to the visual quality of a project.

More recently DX10 and DX11 have brought in even more choice with the replacement of the DXT formats with no less than seven flavours of block compression, conveniently known as BC1 to BC7 making the choice of texture storage format even more significant to achieve best quality visual results.

While the DirectX documentation on these formats is technically rich, it's not the clearest introduction to the formats and doesn't always make it clear which is best for what purpose and why - fortunately though graphics programmer Nathan Reed has kindly taken the time on his blog recently to fill that gap with a clear explanation of the different BC formats.

So if you are interested in texture compression or just want to make sure you're making the most of your carefully crafted  DX10/11 project's visuals I suggest giving his excellent article a read:

Understanding BCn Texture Compression Formats

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