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What are "Fractal Channels" mentioned in Outerra blog?

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They are mentioned in many articles and i have no idea what they are... 

 

Example:

 

"The textures applied on large areas show repeating patterns, but it gets remove by the modulation. The trick is indeed in the additional processing, in computing parallel fractal channels and using them for color modulation, normal perturbation etc."

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Think about a typical image, which has 3-4 channels of data, comprising the R, G, B and optionally Alpha channels, which are combined together produce the final image. When you are working with procedural generation, you typically use many layers (or "channels") of noise, and combine those to produce the final result.

 

You'll probably have one noise generator that produces a height/normal-map, another generator that you use to perturb the normal map to breakup any visible regularity, a generator that you use to breakup the regularity of texture transitions, and so forth...

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So you precompute the noise function and store it in a texture?

No. Though you can, if your use case makes it advantageous to do so.

 

Think of "channels" as meaning "layers" of noise in this context.

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Oh ok. And how are the layers represented in the shader exactly? Because he mentioned that he was "running out of channels". That's what made me think of textures..

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Because he mentioned that he was "running out of channels".

Reading between the lines, "running out" tends to mean that one is over one's CPU/GPU processing budget.

 

You could also try pinging cameni (who wrote Outerra) and see if he'll respond himself.

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