Texture

Textures are used for rendering in games. Generally, textures are created by image processing softwares (e.g. Photoshop, mspaint). Now Cocos Creator supports two formats of images: JPG & PNG.

Import Textures

You can import textures by default way, then you can see the textures in Assets Panel like this:

imported texture

In the Assets Panel, the texture's icon is a thumbnail of itself. Once you select a texture in Assets Panel, the thumbnail will also be shown at the bottom of Properties Panel. Please DO NOT modify the properties of texture in Properties Panel, unless you know what you are doing.

Texture Properties

Properties Function explanation
Type Includes two modes: Raw and Sprite. Raw means that only texture are generated, and Sprite means that cc.SpriteFrame is generated.
Premultiply Alpha When checked, the RGB channel is multiplied by the alpha channel.
Wrap Mode Wrap modes. Includes two modes: Clamp and Repeat.
Filter Mode Filter modes. Includes three modes: Point, Bilinear and Trilinear.
genMipmaps Whether to enable automatic generation of mipmap.
packable Whether this texture is allowed to be packed into Dynamic Atlas.

Premultiply Alpha

  • Premultiply Alpha: Indicates that the Alpha channel is premultiplied with the RGB channel when RGB is stored. For example, a red color with transparency of 50%, RGB is (255, 0, 0), the stored color value after premultiplying is (127, 0, 0, 0.5).

  • Non-Premultiply Alpha: Indicates that the Alpha channel will not be premultiplied with the RGB channel. Then the red color with transparency of 50% described above, the stored color value is (255, 0, 0, 0.5).

Then why use Premultiply Alpha? In texture rendering, transparent textures uses Alpha Blending for blending, and the blending formula is:

result = source.RGB source.A + dest.RGB (1 - source.A);

Set the blend function to gl.blendFunc(gl.SRC_ALPHA, gl.ONE_MINUS_SRC_ALPHA).

When using Premultiply Alpha, the above calculations are simplified to:

result = source.RGB + dest.RGB * (1 - source.A);

Set the blend function to gl.blendFunc(gl.ONE, gl.ONE_MINUS_SRC_ALPHA).

But using Premultiply Alpha is not just to simplify the calculations to improve efficiency, but also because the texture of Non-Premultiply Alpha does not correctly perform linear interpolation.

Suppose there are two adjoining pixel colors, one is red with 100% transparency (255, 0, 0, 1.0), and the other is a green 10% transparency (0, 255, 0, 0.1). Then when the texture is scaled, the color between the two vertices is the result of linear interpolation. If it is Non-Premultiply Alpha, then the result is:

(255, 0, 0, 1.0) * 0.5 + (0, 255, 0, 0.1) * (1 - 0.5) = (127, 127, 0, 0.55)

If Premultiply Alpha is used, the green's stored value becomes (0, 25, 0, 0.1), and the result of linear interpolation with red is:

(255, 0, 0, 1.0) * 0.5 + (0, 25, 0, 0.1) * (1 - 0.5) = (127, 12, 0, 0.55)

The corresponding color values are expressed as:

Premultiply Alpha Example

As can be seen from the figure above that the color after the interpolation using the color value of Non-Premultiply Alpha is greenish, the green with 10% transparency has more proportion, and the red with 100% transparency is less. And the interpolation result obtained with Premultiply Alpha is correct and as expected. Therefore, in actual projects, you can make appropriate selections based on the specific use of the texture.

Wrap Mode

In general, texture coordinates UV's values range is [0, 1]. When the texture coordinates in the passed vertex data exceed the range of [0, 1], the texture coordinates of out of range can be processed through different wrap modes. There are two wrap modes:

  • Clamp mode: Intercept texture coordinates between 0 and 1 and copy texture coordinates [0, 1] only once. For texture coordinates beyond the [0, 1] range, will use the texture coordinates content at the edge to extend.
  • Repeat mode: For texture coordinates beyond the [0, 1] range, will use the texture coordinates [0, 1] to repeat.

Filter Mode

When the original size of Texture does not match the size of the texture image mapped on the screen, the mapping of the texture unit to the pixel through different texture filtering methods produces a different effect. There are three filter modes:

  • Point filtering: it simply uses the color of the texel closest to the pixel center for the pixel color. The advantage is that the algorithm is simple and the computation is small. While simple, this results in a large number of artifacts - texture blockiness during magnification, and aliasing and shimmering during minification.
  • Bilinear filtering: The four nearest texels to the pixel center are sampled (at the closest mipmap level), and their colors are combined by weighted average according to distance. This removes the blockiness seen during magnification, as there is now a smooth gradient of color change from one texel to the next, instead of an abrupt jump as the pixel center crosses the texel boundary. But the computation is also slightly larger than the Point filtering.
  • Trilinear filtering: Based on Bilinear filtering, Trilinear filtering performs texture lookup and bilinear filtering on the two closest mipmap levels (one higher and one lower quality), and then linearly interpolating. Compared with Point filtering and Bilinear filtering, the final sampling result is the best, but the computation is also the largest.

In addition to setting the filter of texture directly in the editor, the engine also provides cc.view.enableAntiAlias interface to dynamically set the anti-aliasing of texture. If anti-aliasing is enabled, all Texture filters in the game will be linear, otherwise Point sampling will be used. Note: The Trilinear filtering in the current engine version is consistent with the Bilinear filtering effect.

genMipmaps

Intended to increase rendering speed and reduce aliasing artifacts, images are processed into sequences which consist of a series of precomputed and optimized textures, called mipmaps.

Each bitmap image of the mipmap set is a downsized duplicate of the main texture, but at a certain reduced level of detail. A high-resolution mipmap image is used for high-density samples, such as for objects close to the camera. Lower-resolution images are used as the object appears farther away.

When texture filtering is set to Trilinear filtering, interpolation occurs between the two nearest levels. The rendering speed increases because the mipmap image is smaller than the original when rendering remote objects, which improves the cache hit ratio in the video card sampling process. At the same time, due to the low precision of the small image of mipmap, the Moire striation is reduced, which can anti-aliased on the picture. Also because some extra textures are generated, mipmap requires about one-third of the additional memory space.

packable

If the engine enable Dynamic Atlas, dynamic atlas automatically dynamically merge the appropriate textures in the beginning scene into a larger texture to reduce drawcall. However, merging the textures into the large texture will modify the UV coordinates of the original texture, if the UV coordinate of the texture is used in the custom effect, the UV calculation in effect will be incorrect, and the packable property of the texture needs to be set to false to prevent the texture from being packaged into the dynamic atlas.

Texture & SpriteFrame

In Assets Panel, there is a triangle at the left side of texture. You can see the sub-asset of the texture by click the triangle. Cocos Creator will create a SpriteFrame asset for each Texture when it's imported.

texture spriteframe

SpriteFrame is asset used by the core component Sprite. Sprite component can show different images by set/change spriteFrame. You can take a look at Sprite component reference for more details.

Why SpriteFrame is added? Besides a SpriteFrame from a Texture, we have another asset (Atlas) which contains many SpriteFrames. About atlas you can reference Atlas for datails.

The API documents for Texture & SpriteFrame:

SpriteFrame Usage

You can create a node with Sprite component by dragging a SpriteFrame asset from Assets to Node Tree or Scene.

After that, you can change the SpriteFrame by dragging a SpriteFrame/Texture asset to the Sprite Frame property of Sprite component.

Also you can drag a SpriteFrame asset to an existing SpriteFrame animation in the Timeline. You can reference the usage by Editing Sprite Animation.

Performance Attentions

If you are using single Texture assets for Sprite. It can't use batch render at the runtime of the game. Now you can't batch change the SpriteFrame reference from single Texture to Atlas in Cocos Creator. So, please combine textures into atlas as early as possible and use them through the SpriteFrame reference in Atlas.

In addition, the cc.macro.CLEANUP_IMAGE_CACHE in the engine indicates whether to delete the DOM Image cache after uploading the texture to the GPU. Specifically, we free this memory by setting image.src to an empty string. Normally, you don't need to turn this option on because Image objects use very little memory on the web. But in the current version of WeChat Mini Game, the Image object caches the decoded Image data, which takes up a lot of memory. Therefore, we enable this option on WeChat Mini Game by default to release the memory of Image object immediately after uploading GL texture to avoid excessive memory consumption.


Continue on to read about Atlas

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