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"What Is" Articles for Sprites and Effects

These articles provide a brief introduction into graphics pipeline functionality.

In This Section

What Is Antialiasing?
Antialiasing is a technique for softening or blurring sharp edges so they appear less jagged when rendered.
What Is a Back Buffer?
A back buffer is a render target whose contents will be sent to the device when GraphicsDevice.Present is called.
What Is Blend State?
Blend state controls how color and alpha values are blended when combining rendered data with existing render target data.
What Is Color Blending?
Color blending mixes two colors together to produce a third color.
What Is a Depth Buffer?
A depth buffer contains per-pixel floating-point data for the z depth of each pixel rendered. A depth buffer may also contain stencil data which can be used to do more complex rendering such as simple shadows or outlines.
What Is Depth Stencil State?
Depth stencil state controls how the depth buffer and the stencil buffer are used.
What Is a Depth Texture?
A depth texture, also known as a shadow map, is a texture that contains the data from the depth buffer for a particular scene.
What Is an Effect?
An effect initializes the graphics pipeline for performing transforms, lighting, applying textures, and adding per-pixel visual effects such as a glow or a lens flare. Under the covers, an effect implements at least one shader for processing vertices and at least one shader for processing pixels.
What Is a Model Bone?
A model bone is a matrix that represents the position of a mesh as it relates to other meshes in a 3D model.
What Is a Profile?
A profile is a feature set that is implemented in hardware. The Reach profile implements high-level shader language (HLSL) Shader Model 2.0 and the HiDef profile implements HLSL Shader Model 3.0.
What Is Rasterizer State?
Rasterizer state determines how to render 3D data such as position, color, and texture onto a 2D surface.
What Is a Render Target?
A render target is a memory buffer for rendering pixels. One common use for a render target is offscreen rendering.
What Is Sampler State?
Sampler state determines how texture data is sampled using texture addressing modes, filtering, and level of detail.
What Is a Stencil Buffer?
A stencil buffer contains per-pixel integer data which is used to add more control over which pixels are rendered. A stencil buffer can also be used in combination with a depth buffer to do more complex rendering such as simple shadows or outlines.
What are Vectors, Matrices, and Quaternions?
Presents an overview of the math-related functionality provided by the XNA Framework.
What Is a View Frustum?
A view frustum is a 3D volume that defines how models are projected from camera space to projection space. Objects must be positioned within the 3D volume to be visible.
What Is a Viewport?
A viewport is a 2D rectangle that defines the size of the rendering surface onto which a 3D scene is projected.

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