Parallax mapping for the masses

I have spent the last ten days studying hard, reading the first half of the Orange Book (it’s the last book in the list, of course 😀 ), a plethora of papers, many demos code, tons of tutorials and guides, but at last I achieved what I would have never imagined just two weeks ago. 😉

Fixed Pipeline

Per-pixel Lighting

Normal Mapping Parallax Mapping

The GLSL_parallax demo shows per pixel Blinn-Phong shading, specular mapping and tangent space parallax mapping with offset limiting! 😀

Actually I’m not really sure about the correctness of my implementation (especially regarding tangent space lighting) but screenshots demonstrate that I’m close to it.
In the first one the usual and boring OpenGL fixed functionality per-vertex lighting (ambient, diffuse and specular components of a point light with attenuation), in the second one shaders are enabled, but only to calculate lighting on a per-pixel basis. At last, the third and the fourth image show normal and parallax mapping.

Talking in more detail, the code is written for OpenGL 2 only, it makes use of Vertex Buffer Objects and GLSL shaders using core functions.

Here is the magic:

if (withParallax == true) { // alpha channel encodes the height map
  height = scale * texture2D(Tex1, gl_TexCoord[1].st).a - bias;
  TexCoord = gl_TexCoord[0].st + height * ecPos.xy;
if (withNormal == true)
  nor = 2.0 * normalMap.rgb - 1.0; // decoding normal map

Some statistics:

  • 6 varying variables
  • 7 uniform variables (texture samples and enable/disable booleans)
  • 3 texture fetches every fragment processed
  • (24×3)x3 + 24×2 = 432 floats (1728 bytes) stored in VBOs

Enjoy the shaders! 🙂

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