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Real-Time Lettering on 3D Signs with a 2D Font Engine

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Published on Nov 4, 2008

Standard texturing shows a number of problems with 3D objects such as road signs, labels, or books. If letters
are displayed at too large a scale, textures show blurred instead of hard edges; if letters are displayed at tiny
sizes, textures appear either too pixelated or too blurry, but seldom well readable. In 2D as opposed to 3D, letters
are created on demand in the required size by a sophisticated font rendering engine, a standard component of
todays operating systems. A number of specific improvements such as hinting and RGB subpixel rendering are
available. This paper demonstrates how these partially proprietary and patented 2D functions can be leveraged
for 3D rendering. The price to pay is a loss in geometric precision, since typical 2D font rendering engines only
handle affine transformations, which can merely approximate perspective projection. However, in most situations
this is outweighed easily by the gain in clarity. EUROGRAPHICS 2007, Short Papers

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