Thursday, July 29, 2010

Image Space Photon Mapping

Hardware-Accelerated Global Illumination by Image Space Photon Mapping

  • Morgan McGuire, Williams College
  • David Luebke, NVIDIA Corporation
"We describe an extension to photon mapping that recasts the most expensive steps of the algorithm -- the initial and final photon bounces -- as image-space operations amenable to GPU acceleration. This enables global illumination for real-time applications as well as accelerating it for offline rendering.

Image Space Photon Mapping (ISPM) rasterizes a light-space bounce map of emitted photons surviving initial-bounce Russian roulette sampling on a GPU. It then traces photons conventionally on the CPU. Traditional photon mapping estimates final radiance by gathering photons from a k-d tree. ISPM instead scatters indirect illumination by rasterizing an array of photon volumes. Each volume bounds a filter kernel based on the a priori probability density of each photon path. These two steps exploit the fact that initial path segments from point lights and final ones into a pinhole camera each have a common center of projection. An optional step uses joint bilateral upsampling of irradiance to reduce the fill requirements of rasterizing photon volumes. ISPM preserves the accurate and physically-based nature of photon mapping, supports arbitrary BSDFs, and captures both high- and low-frequency illumination effects such as caustics and diffuse color interreflection..."

Computer Graphics is the science of enabling visual communication through computation. It is used in film, video games, medical imaging, engineering, and 
machine vision.