Chapter 24. Rasterization

Rasterization is the process by which a primitive is converted to a two-dimensional image. Each point of this image contains associated data such as depth, color, or other attributes.

Rasterizing a primitive begins by determining which squares of an integer grid in framebuffer coordinates are occupied by the primitive, and assigning one or more depth values to each such square. This process is described below for points, lines, and polygons.

A grid square, including its $(x,y)$ framebuffer coordinates, $z$ (depth), and associated data added by fragment shaders, is called a fragment. A fragment is located by its upper left corner, which lies on integer grid coordinates.

Rasterization operations also refer to a fragment’s sample locations, which are offset by subpixel fractional values from its upper left corner. The rasterization rules for points, lines, and triangles involve testing whether each sample location is inside the primitive. Fragments need not actually be square, and rasterization rules are not affected by the aspect ratio of fragments. Display of non-square grids, however, will cause rasterized points and line segments to appear fatter in one direction than the other.

We assume that fragments are square, since it simplifies antialiasing and texturing. After rasterization, fragments are processed by the early per-fragment tests, if enabled.

Several factors affect rasterization, including the members of VkPipelineRasterizationStateCreateInfo and VkPipelineMultisampleStateCreateInfo.

The VkPipelineRasterizationStateCreateInfo structure is defined as:


typedef struct VkPipelineRasterizationStateCreateInfo {
    VkStructureType                            sType;
    const void*                                pNext;
    VkPipelineRasterizationStateCreateFlags    flags;
    VkBool32                                   depthClampEnable;
    VkBool32                                   rasterizerDiscardEnable;
    VkPolygonMode                              polygonMode;
    VkCullModeFlags                            cullMode;
    VkFrontFace                                frontFace;
    VkBool32                                   depthBiasEnable;
    float                                      depthBiasConstantFactor;
    float                                      depthBiasClamp;
    float                                      depthBiasSlopeFactor;
    float                                      lineWidth;
} VkPipelineRasterizationStateCreateInfo;

The VkPipelineMultisampleStateCreateInfo structure is defined as:


typedef struct VkPipelineMultisampleStateCreateInfo {
    VkStructureType                          sType;
    const void*                              pNext;
    VkPipelineMultisampleStateCreateFlags    flags;
    VkSampleCountFlagBits                    rasterizationSamples;
    VkBool32                                 sampleShadingEnable;
    float                                    minSampleShading;
    const VkSampleMask*                      pSampleMask;
    VkBool32                                 alphaToCoverageEnable;
    VkBool32                                 alphaToOneEnable;
} VkPipelineMultisampleStateCreateInfo;

Rasterization only produces fragments corresponding to pixels in the framebuffer. Fragments which would be produced by application of any of the primitive rasterization rules described below but which lie outside the framebuffer are not produced, nor are they processed by any later stage of the pipeline, including any of the early per-fragment tests described in Early Per-Fragment Tests.

Surviving fragments are processed by fragment shaders. Fragment shaders determine associated data for fragments, and can also modify or replace their assigned depth values.

If the subpass for which this pipeline is being created uses color and/or depth/stencil attachments, then rasterizationSamples must be the same as the sample count for those subpass attachments. Otherwise, rasterizationSamples must follow the rules for a zero-attachment subpass.