“Global visibility algorithms for illumination computations” by Teller and Hanrahan

  • ©Seth Teller and Patrick (Pat) Hanrahan




    Global visibility algorithms for illumination computations



    The most expensive geometric operation in image synthesis is
    visibility determination. Classically this is solved with hidden
    surface removal algorithms that render only the parts of the scene
    visible from a point. Global illumination calculations, however,
    may require information between any two points in the scene.
    This paper describes global visibility algorithms that preprocess
    polygon databases in order to accelerate visibility determination
    during illumination calculations. These algorithms are sensitive to
    the output complexity in visibility space; that is, how many pairs
    of objects are mutually visible. Furthermore, the algorithms are
    incremental so that they work well with progressive refinement
    and hierarchical methods of image synthesis. The algorithms
    are conservative, but exact; that is, when they return visibility
    predicates they can be proved true. However sometimes they do not
    return either totally visible or totally invisible, but partially visible,
    even though in the same situation a better algorithm might return
    the exact answer. In this paper we describe the algorithms and
    their implementation, and show that, in a scene with low average
    visual complexity, they can dramatically accelerate conventional
    radiosity programs.


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