The Visual Computer

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 455–469 | Cite as

Multi-resolution terrain rendering with GPU tessellation

  • HyeongYeop Kang
  • Hanyoung Jang
  • Chang-Sik Cho
  • JungHyun HanEmail author
Original Article


GPU tessellation is very efficient and is reshaping the terrain-rendering paradigm. We present a novel terrain-rendering algorithm based on GPU tessellation. The planar domain of the terrain is partitioned into a set of tiles, and a coarse-grained quadtree is constructed for each tile using a screen-space error metric. Then, each node of the quadtree is input to the GPU pipeline together with its own tessellation factors. The nodes are tessellated and the vertices of the tessellated mesh are displaced by filtering the displacement maps. The multi-resolution scheme is designed to optimize the use of GPU tessellation. Further, it accepts not only height maps but also geometry images, which displace more vertices toward the higher curvature feature parts of the terrain surface such that the surface detail can be well reconstructed with a small number of vertices. The efficiency of the proposed method is proven through experiments on large terrain models. When the screen-space error threshold is set to a pixel, a terrain surface tessellated into 8.5 M triangles is rendered at 110 fps on commodity PCs.


Terrain rendering GPU tessellation  Height map Geometry image 



This research is supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (NRF-2012R1A2A2A06047007). It is also supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) in the Culture Technology (CT) Research and Development Program 2013.

Supplementary material

371_2014_941_MOESM1_ESM.m1v (26.6 mb)
ESM 1 (M1V 27,243 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • HyeongYeop Kang
    • 1
  • Hanyoung Jang
    • 2
  • Chang-Sik Cho
    • 3
  • JungHyun Han
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Computer Science and EngineeringKorea UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.NCsoftSeongnamKorea
  3. 3.Electronics and Telecommunications Research InstituteDaejeonKorea

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