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Near Clip Distance

Friday, January 16th, 2009 | Author:

vorher.pngNear Clip Distance is the distance from the camera*, where TG2 starts rendering the Preview. TG2 lets us change the Near Clip Distance to prevent display errors. What that means is best explained using an example.

You may already know the problem. You could be trying to render a small object up close, perhaps a grass clump – just to see if it even renders, or if the textures are imported correctly, etc. From farther above, all seems normal, but if you want to see a close-up of the object:

vorher.png

The problem also occurs when you come too close to the surface in general. The 3D constructs that TG2 uses to render the preview won’t show up when they are too close. The threshold that defines “too close” is the Near Clip Distance. Luckily that value is easy to increase (or decrease) using the shortcuts found in Help > Mouse and Key Settings. The preview has to be active for this to work. You can tell that it’s active by the dotted frame around the preview.

A quick tap on the ‘ [ ' key and the preview looks normal again:

nachher.png

However, the opposite effect is also helpful! When a planet looks like this, for instance:

planet-vorher.png

... hitting ' ] ‘ a few times makes it look like this:

planet-nachher.png

Why do we have to change the distance ourselves?

Graphics cards can’t handle infinite worlds, only parts of them. The problem: the piece that is handled in the preview is already at maximum size, covering everything starting just in front of the camera and reaching thousands of kilometers into space. To guarantee the best view, TG2 adjusts the near and far clipping distance so that the visible part is in fact in front of the camera and reaches as far as far as the graphics card can take it. Beyond that we get graphics errors, as with the planet in the example.

These kinds of errors can occur in the sky under normal circumstances as well. That’s often due to missing or old drivers. Or possibly it’s the graphics card that has reached its limits. That doesn’t mean, however that newer is always better.

*”Camera” doesn’t mean the Render camera, but the imaginary camera, that supplies the image for the Preview. Source: Planetside-Forum [1], [2].

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