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3D Video Acceleration

Because the computer screen is two-dimensional, everything that the PC displays must be two-dimensional as well. In years past, this has meant that programmers and users have not generally tried to work with three-dimensional objects on PCs. In order to work with 3D objects, it is necessary for them to be converted to 2D images. This requires special processing and a lot of computation power that until recently was not available in the PC world. It is not as simple as say, a television camera, that converts a 3D image to 2D automatically.

Led by the demands of increasingly realistic games that allow a user to move in a virtual 3D world, new video cards with 3D capabilities are exploding onto the market. This market is still very young and there is a lot of change in it--new cards are coming out practically every month with different capabilities, and there are few standards. This section discusses some of the concepts involved in 3D video, as well as discussing the issues related to the new 3D accelerators on the market. 3D acceleration is a complicated subject and a treatment of it to the extent I would like is beyond the scope of this site.

For more details on 3D cards and 3D video issues, try this site.

Next: The Need for 3D Acceleration

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