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Pixel Fog

Last Updated: 2/14/2017

Pixel fog is similar to vertex fog, but the fog blending factor, f, is calculated at rasterization time rather than at lighting time. Pixel fog is more accurate than vertex fog. The fog blending factor specified in the LVERTEX or D3DTLVERTEX structures (described in the Direct3D SDK documentation) is ignored. Pixel fog is limited to the three fog profile types (linear fog, exponential fog, and exponential squared fog).

For pixel fog, the hardware does a table look-up on the depth value interpolated at each pixel. There is no need for 256 table entries if they are being interpolated linearly in-between. Future releases of DirectX may provide compensation for nonlinear z-distribution. ZFront and ZBack have values in the interval [0.0, 1.0].

Pixel fog is used by setting the PRIMCAPS.dwPRasterCaps to D3DPRASTERCAPS_FOGTABLE. The D3DDevice7::SetRenderState method sets the D3DRENDERSTATE_FOGENABLE render state to TRUE; the D3DRENDERSTATE_FOGCOLOR render state to 24-bit RGB; and the D3DRENDERSTATE_FOGTABLEMODE render state to one of D3DFOG_LINEAR, D3DFOG_EXP, or D3DFOG_EXP2. Here, the fog blending factor is calculated according to the three render states as follows:

fStart is determined by the render state D3DRENDERSTATE_FOGSTART and is in the interval [0.0, 1.0].

fEnd is determined by the render state D3DRENDERSTATE_FOGEND and is in the interval [0.0, 1.0].

fDensity is determined by the render state D3DRENDERSTATE_FOGDENSITY and is in the interval [0.0, 1.0].

The calculation of the fog blending factor f is based on z and the three fog render states just described. The actual calculation depends on the render state D3DRENDERSTATE_FOGTABLEMODE. Only D3DFOGMODE_LINEAR uses the fog start and end values.


    No pixel fog is applied.


    Linear fog growth.

calculation for linear fog growth


    Exponential fog growth.

calculation for exponential fog growth


    Exponential squared fog growth.

calculation for exponential squared fog growth

Typically, exponential and exponential squared fog are too expensive to do directly. Instead, look-up tables are precalculated for a number of z values in the interval [0.0, 1.0] using the current fog density. The nearest table entry can then be used for the current z value, or an interpolating value between the two surrounding z values can be used to get the appropriate fog factor.

The final fogged color C is then calculated in the same manner as vertex fog as follows:

C = (1-f) * fog_color + f * src_color

In this formula,

  • f is the fog blending factor

  • fog_color is the current fog color (set by the render state D3DRENDERSTATE_FOGCOLOR)

  • src_color is the source, interpolated, textured color

If f, the fog blending factor, is 0.0, then the final fogged color is identical to the fog color. If f is 1.0, there is no fog effect.

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