Survey of cube mapping methods in interactive computer graphics


The standard cube mapping technique implemented in graphics pipelines, while useful in many scenarios, has significant shortcomings for important application areas in interactive computer graphics, e.g., dynamic environment mapping, omnidirectional shadow maps, or planetary-scale terrain rendering. Many alternative mapping methods have been proposed over the years with the purpose of reducing area and/or angular distortions. In this paper, we give an overview of methods suitable for interactive applications and analyze their properties. Furthermore, we evaluate a set of additional transformation functions and identify a simple new method with favorable distortion properties.

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The polygonal world map data used in the example maps in Tables 1 and 2 are provided by Bjorn Sandvik,, license CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Lambers, M. Survey of cube mapping methods in interactive computer graphics. Vis Comput 36, 1043–1051 (2020).

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  • Cube maps
  • Environment maps
  • Distortion