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Understanding 3D rendering step by step with 3DMark11
by Damien Triolet
Published on January 27, 2012

The final image

Preparation : [ Objects ] ->[ G-buffer ] + [ Shadows ]
Lighting: [ Sky ] + [ Primary ] + [ Secondary ] + [ Volumetric ]
Post-processing + interface : [ Final image ]

To create an image such as this one, 3DMark 11 does not hold back in the deployment of resources and here it has processed 564 draw calls, 12 million triangles, 150 million pixels, 85 lights and 14 billion instructions!

This is enough to put any current DirectX 11 GPU on its knees, what with tessellation, geometry shaders, compute shaders, high quality shadows, depth of field effects and complex camera lenses effects, not to forget a lighting that is extremely resource heavy.

This sort of complexity will inevitably eventually turn up in video games, no doubt in more efficient forms. Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3 alone already use similar graphics engines with a few compromises when it comes to geometric load and lighting algorithms calibrated so as to run on current hardware.

We hope that this report will have given you a slightly clearer idea of how a modern graphics engine works. To finish up then, here are the final stats representing the load to be processed by the GPU:
Rendering times: 125.9 ms (= 8 fps)
Vertices before tessellation: 5.36 million
Vertices after tessellation: 11.97 million
Primitives: 12.61 million
Primitives ejected from the rendering: 6.19 million
Pixels: 179.29 million
Elements exported by the pixel shaders: 151.18 million
Texels: 2.39 billion
Instructions executed: 14.40 billion
Quantity of data read: 4.73 GB
Quantity of data written: 1.08 GB

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