Class EXTStencilClearTag

  • public class EXTStencilClearTag
    extends java.lang.Object
    Native bindings to the EXT_stencil_clear_tag extension.

    Stencil-only framebuffer clears are increasingly common as 3D applications are now using rendering algorithms such as stenciled shadow volume rendering for multiple light sources in a single frame, recent "soft" stenciled shadow volume techniques, and stencil-based constructive solid geometry techniques. In such algorithms there are multiple stencil buffer clears for each depth buffer clear. Additionally in most cases, these algorithms do not require all of the 8 typical stencil bitplanes for their stencil requirements. In such cases, there is the potential for unused stencil bitplanes to encode a "stencil clear tag" in such a way to reduce the number of actual stencil clears. The idea is that switching to an unused stencil clear tag logically corresponds to when an application would otherwise perform a framebuffer-wide stencil clear.

    This extension exposes an inexpensive hardware mechanism for amortizing the cost of multiple stencil-only clears by using a client-specified number of upper bits of the stencil buffer to maintain a per-pixel stencil tag.

    The upper bits of each stencil value is treated as a tag that indicates the state of the upper bits of the "stencil clear tag" state when the stencil value was last written. If a stencil value is read and its upper bits containing its tag do NOT match the current upper bits of the stencil clear tag state, the stencil value is substituted with the lower bits of the stencil clear tag (the reset value). Either way, the upper tag bits of the stencil value are ignored by subsequent stencil function and operation processing of the stencil value.

    When a stencil value is written to the stencil buffer, its upper bits are overridden with the upper bits of the current stencil clear tag state so subsequent reads, prior to any subsequent stencil clear tag state change, properly return the updated lower bits.

    In this way, the stencil clear tag functionality provides a way to replace multiple bandwidth-intensive stencil clears with very inexpensive update of the stencil clear tag state.

    If used as expected with the client specifying 3 bits for the stencil tag, every 7 of 8 stencil-only clears of the entire stencil buffer can be substituted for an update of the current stencil clear tag rather than an actual update of all the framebuffer's stencil values. Still, every 8th clear must be an actual stencil clear. The net effect is that the aggregate cost of stencil clears is reduced by a factor of 1/(2^n) where n is the number of bits devoted to the stencil tag.

    The application specifies two new pieces of state: 1) the number of upper stencil bits, n, assigned to maintain the tag bits for each stencil value within the stencil buffer, and 2) a stencil clear tag value that packs the current tag and a reset value into a single integer values. The upper n bits of the stencil clear tag value specify the current tag while the lower s-min(n,s) bits specify the current reset value, where s is the number of bitplanes in the stencil buffer and n is the current number of stencil tag bits.

    If zero stencil clear tag bits are assigned to the stencil tag encoding, then the stencil buffer operates in the conventional manner.