“Predictable and Targeted Softening of the Shadow Terminator” by Deshmukh and Green

  • ©Priyamvad Deshmukh and Brian Green

  • ©Priyamvad Deshmukh and Brian Green

  • ©Priyamvad Deshmukh and Brian Green


Entry Number: 06


    Predictable and Targeted Softening of the Shadow Terminator



    A well known artifact in production rendering from the use of shading normals is the shadow terminator problem: the abrupt interruption of the light’s smooth cosine falloff at geometric horizons.  Recent publications introduced several ad-hoc techniques, based loosely on microfacet theory to deal with these issues. We show that these techniques can themselves introduce artifacts and suggest a new technique that is an improvement in many situations. More importantly we introduce a framework for analyzing these different techniques so artists and researchers can choose appropriate solutions and more reliably predict and understand expected results.


    Matt Jen-Yuan Chiang, Yining Karl Li, and Brent Burley. 2019. Taming the Shadow Terminator. ACM SIGGRAPH 2019 Talks 1, Article 71 (July 2019). https://doi.org/ 10.1145/3306307.3328172

    Alejandro Conty Estevez, Pascal Lecocq, and Clifford Stein. 2019. A Microfacet-Based Shadowing Function to Solve the Bump Terminator Problem. Apress, Berkeley, CA, 149–158. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4842-4427-2_12



    This work was implemented by the MoonRay development team at DreamWorks Animation. Rigorous testing, feedback, and patience from lighting artists like Pablo Valle and Iveth Bueno were key to success.


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