Texture Atlas Creation Approaches Within Maya: A Comparative Study
Texture atlases are commonly used to reduce draw calls, and therefore decrease render time in real-time games. While this is common practice, little empirical research has been done on the effects of texture atlases on image quality and render time as compared un-atlased textures. In two studies, this research examined multiple tools (Ninja UV, Easy Atlas, and Texture Atlas Creator) that work in conjunction with Autodesk's Maya and compared their performance in render time and image quality. Results indicated that texture atlases predictably reduce render time, which is influenced by the number of original textures and sub-objects in atlased models, and primarily, by draw calls. Additionally, tools that reconfigured UVs in Maya and sampled from original textures produced superior image quality in comparison to other tools. Study 2 examined unique methods of allocating space within an atlas (world space, object space, and tiled) using Texture Atlas Creator, as well as the impact of various model properties on image quality. This study indicated that image quality in atlases increases as more sub-objects and textures are included, but decreases as a factor of triangle count and number of pixels in the original textures. Analysis of space allocation found that texture atlases created with World Space space allocation a power of 2 lower than a tiled texture atlas (i.e. World Space 210 and Tiled 2 11) were not significantly different from each other in terms of color difference. The results of this research indicate that game developers may be able to save file size by creating smaller more efficient texture atlases using World Space allocation.
Whittinghill, Purdue University.
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