“Rendering specular microgeometry with wave optics” by Yan, Hasan and Walter

  • ©Ling-Qi Yan, Milos Hasan, and Bruce J. Walter



Entry Number: 75

Session Title:

    Layers, Glints and Surface Microstructure


    Rendering specular microgeometry with wave optics



    Simulation of light reflection from specular surfaces is a core problem of computer graphics. Existing solutions either make the approximation of providing only a large-area average solution in terms of a fixed BRDF (ignoring spatial detail), or are specialized for specific microgeometry (e.g. 1D scratches), or are based only on geometric optics (which is an approximation to more accurate wave optics). We design the first rendering algorithm based on a wave optics model that is also able to compute spatially-varying specular highlights with high-resolution detail on general surface microgeometry. We compute a wave optics reflection integral over the coherence area; our solution is based on approximating the phase-delay grating representation of a micron-resolution surface heightfield using Gabor kernels. We found that the appearance difference between the geometric and wave solution is more dramatic when spatial detail is taken into account. The visualizations of the corresponding BRDF lobes differ significantly. Moreover, the wave optics solution varies as a function of wavelength, predicting noticeable color effects in the highlights. Our results show both single-wavelength and spectral solution to reflection from common everyday objects, such as brushed, scratched and bumpy metals.


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