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digg Bloom and HDR in Layman"s Terms
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posted by sysrpl on Friday March 24, 2006 5:04 AM

Since I have been reading so many bulletin board posts of gamers confused about what bloom and HDR are, I wrote this very brief article describing them in laymen's terms.

Bloom - Fuzzy lighting; A glowing aura around lights and bright surfaces. Uses extra GPU processing because glowing pixels are rendered using more than one pass.

HDR - High Dynamic Range; Rendering a greater range of colors than your eye can see. Causes pixels to be overly bright or overly dark, and when implemented correctly make images seem more realistic. Uses SM 3.0, which added floating point colors for pixels, and in turn uses more VRAM (video memory)

Both bloom and HDR are used to make the your game's 3D renderer look more realistic, but it costs your system some resources. This translates to a loss in frames per second. In your game, take a look at the image quality of an HDR image and a non-HDR image, then decide if the change in quality is worth the performance you are losing.

Remember, the quality of HDR is implementation specific. So if the HDR in your game doesn't suit your tastes, that doesn't mean all HDR is bad, just the version you are looking at. On the other hand, maybe the implementation you are looking at looks really good.

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