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iPhone 3D Programming : Crisper Text with Distance Fields (part 3) - Implementing Outline, Glow, and Shadow Effects

12/13/2011 6:14:41 PM

5. Implementing Outline, Glow, and Shadow Effects

Using shaders with distance fields can also achieve a variety of special effects, as shown in Figure 4. In the interest of brevity, I won’t go into too much detail here; much like the smoothing example from the previous section, all these effects rely on using smoothstep and various offsets from the distance=0 boundary. They also make use of a GLSL function called mix; here’s its declaration:

float mix(float x, float y, float a)

You probably already guessed that this function performs linear interpolation between its first two arguments:

mix(x, y, a) = x * (1 - a) + y * a

See Example 4 for an “übershader” that can produce any of the aforementioned distance field effects, depending on how the application sets up the uniforms. If you’re trying to run this shader on the simulator, you’ll need to remove the top line and replace the fwidth function with a constant.


Example 4. Distance field übershader

#extension GL_OES_standard_derivatives : enable

varying mediump vec2 TextureCoord;

uniform sampler2D DistanceField;
uniform mediump vec3 OutlineColor;
uniform mediump vec3 GlyphColor;
uniform mediump vec3 GlowColor;

uniform bool Outline;
uniform bool Glow;
uniform bool Shadow;

const mediump vec2 ShadowOffset = vec2(0.005, 0.01);
const mediump vec3 ShadowColor = vec3(0.0, 0.0, 0.125);
const mediump float SmoothCenter = 0.5;
const mediump float OutlineCenter = 0.4;
const mediump float GlowBoundary = 1.0;

void main(void)
{
mediump vec4 color = texture2D(DistanceField, TextureCoord);
mediump float distance = color.a;
mediump float smoothWidth = fwidth(distance);
mediump float alpha;
mediump vec3 rgb;

if (Outline) {
mediump float mu = smoothstep(OutlineCenter - smoothWidth,
OutlineCenter + smoothWidth,
distance);
alpha = smoothstep(SmoothCenter - smoothWidth,
SmoothCenter + smoothWidth, distance)
rgb = mix(GlyphColor, OutlineColor, mu);
}

if (Glow) {
mediump float mu = smoothstep(SmoothCenter - smoothWidth,
SmoothCenter + smoothWidth,
distance);
rgb = mix(GlyphColor, GlowColor, mu);
alpha = smoothstep(SmoothCenter, GlowBoundary, sqrt(distance));
}

if (Shadow) {
mediump float distance2 = texture2D(DistanceField,
TextureCoord + ShadowOffset).a;
mediump float s = smoothstep(SmoothCenter - smoothWidth,
SmoothCenter + smoothWidth,
distance2);
mediump float v = smoothstep(SmoothCenter - smoothWidth,
SmoothCenter + smoothWidth,
distance);

// If s is 0, then we're inside the shadow;
// if it's 1, then we're outside the shadow.
//
// If v is 0, then we're inside the vector;
// if it's 1, then we're outside the vector.

// Totally inside the vector (i.e., inside the glyph):
if (v == 0.0) {
rgb = GlyphColor;
alpha = 0.0;
}

// On a nonshadowed vector edge:
else if (s == 1.0 && v != 1.0) {
rgb = GlyphColor;
alpha = v;
}

// Totally inside the shadow:
else if (s == 0.0 && v == 1.0) {
rgb = ShadowColor;
alpha = 0.0;
}

// On a shadowed vector edge:
else if (s == 0.0) {
rgb = mix(GlyphColor, ShadowColor, v);
alpha = 0.0;
}

// On the shadow's outside edge:
else {
rgb = mix(GlyphColor, ShadowColor, v);
alpha = s;
}
}

gl_FragColor = vec4(rgb, alpha);
}



The shadow effect in Example 4 deserves further explanation. It applies anti-aliasing to the transition not only between the vector and the background but also between the shadow and the background and between the vector and the shadow. The shader pulls this off by deciding which of the following five regions the pixel falls into (see Figure 7):

  1. Completely within the vector

  2. On a vector edge that’s not shadowed

  3. Completely within the shadow

  4. On a vector edge that’s shadowed

  5. On the shadow’s outside edge

Figure 7. Shadow regions

 
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