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Information on Antialiasing

Antialiasing is a method of going through a bit-mapped tonal image and "smoothing" the image so that it does not appear as pixellated. Bitmaps are notorious for not being able to show straight lines without what appears to be a jagged edge. The removal of these "jaggies" is the most important task of antialiasing.

When Bryce renders an image, it takes two steps. First, it produces a bitmap of a given resolution. Second, it re-scans that image and looks for tonal gradients that need smoothing in order to hide the jaggies - antialiasing the image. The time taken for these two steps depend on the image.

The initial rendering depends on the physical complexity of the image. If you render a scene with a hundred ping pong balls, the initial rendering will take a long time. If you render a single surface of water, receding to the horizon, initial rendering will take less time.

The antialiasing depends on the tonal quality of the image. If the rendering shows the white ping pong balls on a white plane of snow, the antialiasing step will not take much time. On the other hand, the single surface of water with ripples receding to the horizon will take a very long time antialiasing.

Below is an enlargement of an image that is about one half antialiased. It shows reflection and transmission through a rippled surface of water. This sort of rendering is about the most time consuming that can be done in Bryce - particularly for antialiasing. You can see how the top half of the image looks quite smooth and pleasing, whereas the bottom half is jumpy and jaggy.

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