“A generic framework for physical light transport” by Steinberg and Yan

  • ©Shlomi Steinberg and Ling-Qi Yan




    A generic framework for physical light transport



    Physically accurate rendering often calls for taking the wave nature of light into consideration. In computer graphics, this is done almost exclusively locally, i.e. on a micrometre scale where the diffractive phenomena arise. However, the statistical properties of light, that dictate its coherence characteristics and its capacity to give rise to wave interference effects, evolve globally: these properties change on, e.g., interaction with a surface, diffusion by participating media and simply by propagation. In this paper, we derive the first global light transport framework that is able to account for these properties of light and, therefore, is fully consistent with Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory. We show that our framework is a generalization of the classical, radiometry-based light transport—prominent in computer graphics—and retains some of its attractive properties. Finally, as a proof of concept, we apply the presented framework to a few practical problems in rendering and validate against well-studied methods in optics.


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