“A Dynamic BRDF Display” by Hullin, Lensch, Raskar, Seidel and Ihrke

  • ©Matthias B. Hullin, Hendrik P. A. Lensch, Ramesh Raskar, Hans-Peter Seidel, and Ivo Ihrke

  • ©Matthias B. Hullin, Hendrik P. A. Lensch, Ramesh Raskar, Hans-Peter Seidel, and Ivo Ihrke


Entry Number: 01


    A Dynamic BRDF Display



    Traditional computer displays are designed to be invariant to illumination and viewing conditions. However, this is not what the real world behaves like. Real materials reflect the surrounding light in a characteristic way that depends on the angles of illumination and observation.

    We envision a future generation of devices that behave more like showcase windows through which the real and virtual worlds can interact with each other. To this end, it may become necessary to display the reflectance of materials, instead of fixed colors.

    As a very first step towards this goal, we present a device that can display programmable degrees of surface roughness. The underlying principle is inspired by the microfacet theory. By exciting traveling surface waves, a liquid surface is deformed dynamically. The normal statistics of the resulting surface, averaged over time, can be controlled so as to follow an anisotropic Gaussian distribution. The reflectance displayed by our device is thus related to some of the most popular analytical models, including Ward’s anisotropic BRDF [1992].

    An in-depth treatment of the idea and theory behind our device is provided in [Hullin et al. 2011]. Our Emerging Technologies exhibit will showcase a revised and improved prototype of our BRDF display in action. In the associated talk, we will focus more on the “big picture”, i.e., the general problem of dynamically displaying BRDFs, and we will outline various approaches to its solution.


    FUCHS, M., RASKAR, R., SEIDEL, H.-P., AND LENSCH, H. P. A. 2008. Towards passive 6D reflectance field displays. ACM Trans. Graph. (Proc. ACM SIGGRAPH).

    HULLIN, M. B., LENSCH, H. P. A., RASKAR, R., SEIDEL, H.- P., AND IHRKE, I. 2011. Dynamic display of BRDFs. In Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. EUROGRAPHICS), O. Deussen and M. Chen, Eds.

    WARD, G. J. 1992. Measuring and modeling anisotropic reflection. Computer Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH) 26, 2, 265–272.

    WEYRICH, T., PEERS, P., MATUSIK, W., AND RUSINKIEWICZ, S. 2009. Fabricating microgeometry for custom surface reflectance. ACM Trans. Graph. (Proc. ACM SIGGRAPH).


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