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Re: [Public WebGL] ETC texture compression.

On Aug 26, 2010, at 6:40 PM, Steve Baker wrote:

> Oliver Hunt wrote:
>> On Aug 26, 2010, at 5:25 PM, Steve Baker wrote:
>>> Chris Marrin wrote:
>>>> Assuming the copyright issues for ETC1 get sorted out I think we
>>>> should just make it a part of the spec rather than an extension. The
>>>> availability of a software decoder would allow it to be implemented on
>>>> platforms without ETC1.
>>> The problem with resorting to software decoders is that most (if not
>>> all) desktop systems don't provide support for ETC1.  You'd package your
>>> textures into ETC1, suffer the horrific loss of image quality...and then
>>> discover that you're actually not saving any video memory or improving
>>> texture cache coherency at all!   ETC1 does help your network bandwidth
>>> (the files are 6:1 compressed) - but the average file compression rate I
>>> get from PNG's zlib compression is 3.6:1 (averaged over all the maps in
>>> my game) - so the network bandwidth savings from ETC are less than a
>>> factor of two over PNG.  Given that, I can't imagine many people
>>> preferring ETC1 over PNG for desktop systems.
>> How does it compare to jpeg?
> JPEG is incredibly compact - something like 10:1 on a fairly high
> quality setting, maybe even 100:1 on the lower quality settings!  Vastly
> more compact than any of the specifically "texture" compression
> schemes.  But despite that, JPEG is a simply awful format for texture!
> The problem is that it's based on a human perceptual model that presumes
> things about the amplitude and frequency response of your eye - and that
> assumes you're looking at the image square-on under normal room lighting
> and such that the image resolution is about what a typical screen
> resolution is and that you have the gamma setting of the screen set right.
> But none of those special conditions hold for textures - we squash them,
> stretch them, MIP them, lighten and darken them.  If you look closely at
> a JPEG image you'll see that you tend to get odd random texels that are
> wildly "wrong" in hue.  Bright green or magenta or something.  When
> you're viewing under optimal conditions those colors are displayed at
> higher resolution than the color-perception cells in your eye can
> resolve them so they blend nicely to an intermediate hue and
> brightness.  It's assumption of correct gamma presentation means that it
> can shave bits off of some brightness ranges and pack more precision
> into others.   But when you stretch and squash and illuminate that, you
> get REALLY wierd shit coming out of it.
> Lossy "texture" compression systems are careful to avoid such
> assumptions - and that's why they can't get to such high densities.
> So "Just Say No" to JPEG.

That would imply that all browsers would need to natively support ETC texture compression outside of webgl, which is what i was seeing as a problem.

>>  Given the current  texture loading model is to load from Image (or Canvas) objects you need to transmit your data to the UA in a form the UA understands.
>> In all honesty I find myself wondering if the API should simply be something akin to telling the WebGL implementation to use a compressed texture if possible, then leaving it up to the implementation to determine the best format on the current platform.
> Yeah - but it's not just a platform decision.  You might choose only to
> compress your largest textures (on the grounds that they are 90% of the
> problem) - and you certainly don't want to compress normal maps using
> ETC1.   There are also many reasons for using textures that are utterly
> unrelated to RGB data - or even "texels" in the conventional sense.  For
> those kinds of thing, you CERTAINLY don't want the hardware messing with
> your data.

I wasn't suggesting that the UA make a decision for all textures, I was meaning that when loading a texture you could tell the UA that the texture could be compressed, and whether you're willing to accept lossy compression (I honestly have no idea if there are any lossless compressed texture formats)

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