Foveated rendering, is definitely one of the newest fields of real-time graphics rendering. The main goal of foveated rendering is reducing rendering cost to increase frame-rate without perception difference to the user from full-rendering. Eye-tracker is a great help here, as technology has exponentially evolved over years.

When we use an eye tracker, can gradually decrease the rendering qualities in peripheral zones. The decreased graphics parameters could be, for example, the color quality. Spatial frequency decrease (e.g. text) in the peripheral does not help much in special applications as decrease such quality will increase the reading time. Could you give me some ideas about the graphics parameters which can be decreased from the angular distance of the gaze point?


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Actually it's not that new of an idea -- it goes back to at least 1996. I strongly suggest reading Microsoft Research's Foveated 3D Graphics. (click 'View publication' and read the full pdf)

In a nutshell, human visual acuity is different near the center of vision compared to the peripheral. The middle of the eye is packed more tightly with cone receptors making it more sensitive to detail and color. In contrast, humans are quite sensitive to motion in their peripheral vision. Evolutionarily speaking, it's a good idea to maybe take a look at that tiger sneaking up on you from the side. Your motion perception will trigger a shift in your gaze so you can make sense of exactly what's trying to eat you.

The most obvious thing that's different is your ability to perceive detail (angular size). Numerous things can be adjusted with the rendering to economize on detail.

  • Resolution can be reduced.
  • Texture sizes can be reduced.
  • Geometric (polygonal) detail can be reduced

Color perception is reduced in the periphery as well, therefore:

  • Texture maps with lower bit-depth can be used.
  • Precision of color calculations can be reduced.

CAUTION: There are nuances to making effective use of all of these techniques. You have to be especially careful not to change the silhouette of the objects because the outer visual region is actually more sensitive to the motion differences that may be perceived by an edge jumping around. It may also be tempting to turn off antialiasing, but artifacts introduced by crawling pixels are tantamount to motion and draw the eye to these artifacts. Anti-aliasing sometimes needs to be increased negating the effects of foveated rendering. A blended blurring technique is used that allows seamless transition between regions rendered at high-resolution and low-resolution. It's a complex subject -- read the paper.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, the concept is old, in 1990, Marc Levoy already wrote his paper on gaze directed volume rendering using ray tracing. I read Guenter's paper and that gave me the brain-storming. According to NVIDIA's research, peripheral vision is more sensitive to color, movement, contrast and edges. Guenter used sub-sampling technique to reduce peripheral resolution. Different papers introducing different techniques, but could not find any paper that intensively talking about the peripheral rendering attrabutes which can b reduce, of course u did. $\endgroup$
    – bim
    Jan 18, 2021 at 16:08

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