I'm Jon Olick. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I presented Sparse Voxel Octrees at Siggraph 2008.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Voxels vs Displacement Mapping

Voxels on the left. Displacement mapping on the right.

What is being shown here is a pyroclastic sphere primitive. Link

This is a good example of the difference between a voxel technology, and a displacement mapping technology that the GPU manufacturers are pushing.

The DM tech is pretty obviously just pushing out parts and pulling in parts of the surface, making things look more like a wave function on a sphere.

The Voxel tech looks like a much more natural expression of the function.

Disclaimer: To be fair, both pictures are using voxels in the source article. However the right picture could easily have been accomplished with DM and does IMO represent the difference between the two approaches.


  1. best graphics programming humor since http://www.codersnotes.com/notes/two-channel

  2. What about Vector Displacement Maps?