MIP Mapping

What Does MIP Mapping Mean?

MIP mapping (mipmapping) is an anti-aliasing method used in many 3-D rendering applications. It is usually used in game visualization and 3-D image rendering. This method of rendering will remove the "moiré" patterns that usually occur on detailed textures with a lot of lines. Moiré patterns appear because when an applied texture is farther away, the texel count becomes higher than the pixel count to be rendered, resulting in a loss in visual information.


The idea behind mipmapping is simple: If the image to be rendered is big or close to the camera, the renderer uses a bigger texture map, while if it is smaller or farther away, then smaller textures are used.

MIP stands for the Latin phrase multum in parvo, which means "much in little."

Techopedia Explains MIP Mapping

Mipmapping is a technique in image processing that takes an original, high-resolution texture image or map and filter, and scales it into multiple smaller-resolution texture maps within the same texture file. This simply means that smaller texture maps are created based on an original, with each texture being smaller than the "level" before it, usually half the resolution size. So, if an original (Level 0) texture is 128×128 in size, Level 1 would be 64×64, Level 2 would be 32×32, and so on.

Each scaled down texture is called a "MIP level," and it represents how the original texture would look if it was a certain distance away from the camera or viewer. Filters allow these different sized textures to represent colors and textures more naturally when being viewed from a distance. Blending them together helps avoid moiré patterns and allows for less processor load.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.