[cairo] Bug with paint_with_alpha and perf issues whencompositing with SOURCE

Antoine Azar cairo at antoineazar.com
Tue May 27 08:27:49 PDT 2008

Hi Owen,

Thanks for the informative reply. 

> Which doc is this? 

The one on cairographics.org:
"A drawing operator that paints the current source everywhere within the
current clip region using a mask of constant alpha value alpha. The effect
is similar to cairo_paint(), but the drawing is faded out using the alpha

> I can sort of see why you think that paint_with_alpha() 
> should be different ... there's an intuitive understanding of 
> the operation as "make the source partially transparent and 
> then paint it"... but that's not how it's defined. It's 
> defined as painting with a uniform mask.
> And the rendering equations in cairo for masks don't care 
> whether a 50% alpha is 50% alpha from anti-aliasing at the 
> edge of a shape, or from paint_with_alpha().
> And so, for OPERATOR_SOURCE that means linear interpolation 
> between the source and destination depending on the alpha value.

With this definition, then yes, I would expect the function to set the alpha
of my source and then paint it on the destination and replace whatever was
there before. Right now, we're using this uniform mask both for dimming the
source AND for compositing with it. As a result, OVER and SOURCE are doing
exactly the same thing here.
In the comments in the code, we replace the SOURCE and CLEAR operators by
this string of other operators ((src IN mask IN clip) ADD (dst OUT (mask IN
clip))) because backends don't interpret SOURCE and CLEAR in the same way.
What I propose is to give backends the possibility of supporting those
operations natively if they can, and if they don't, we'll fallback to pixman
and do it in a more efficient way than currently.

> In terms of the performance: there's an obvious optimization 
> missing where we create a temporary surface for mask IN clip 
> even when there is no surface clip (see 
> _create_composite_mask_pattern()) 

Good catch!

> but other than that 
> _clip_and_composite_source() doesn't look particularly slow to me.
> It's a straight-forward two-pass rendering operation where 
> both passes can be hardware accelerated and are reasonably 
> MMX accelerated in pixman.

Actually it is pretty slow. The visual results of SOURCE and OVER are
exactly the same, yet SOURCE is right now 10 times slower in pixman because
of the operators we replace it with. It should actually be faster. The
Quartz backend for example is 40 times faster than pixman. And even just in
Quartz, OVER is 5 times faster than SOURCE.


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