Software & Apps Design What is Tessellation? How does it create better-looking game characters and terrains? By Christine McKee Writer Christine McKee is a former Lifewire writer covering PC video gaming gear and technology. She's also written for other top news sites. our editorial process Christine McKee Updated March 27, 2019 Tessellation makes smoother models. amd.com Design 3D Design Animation & Video Graphic Design Tweet Share Email In video card reviews, the term "tessellation" is often referred to in regards to performance. But what exactly is tessellation and how does it affect the way you game? Find out more about tessellation below. What Is Tessellation? Tessellation is essentially the act of dividing a polygon (closed shape) into smaller parts. For instance, two triangles can be created when you cut a square diagonally. By tessellating the polygon into those triangles, developers can then deploy additional technologies, such as displacement mapping, to create more realistic images. The result? In DirectX 11, tessellation makes smoother models. This creates better-looking game characters and terrains. How Does PC Hardware Utilize Tessellation? Graphics cards use tessellation units to morph the tessellated triangles into a stream of pixels for shading. The benefits include more realistic lighting and smoother geometry for an enhanced gaming experience.