Interactive Approximate Rendering of Reflections, Refractions, and Caustics

Wei Hu, Kaihuai Qin
Institute of High Performance Computing, Department of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2007


   title={Interactive approximate rendering of reflections, refractions, and caustics},

   author={Hu, W. and Qin, K.},

   journal={IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics},



   publisher={IEEE Computer Society}


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Reflections, refractions, and caustics are very important for rendering global illumination images. Although many methods can be applied to generate these effects, the rendering performance is not satisfactory for interactive applications. In this paper, complex ray-object intersections are simplified so that the intersections can be computed on a GPU, and an iterative computing scheme based on the depth buffers is used for correcting the approximate results caused by the simplification. As a result, reflections and refractions of environment maps and nearby geometry can be rendered on a GPU interactively without preprocessing. We can even achieve interactive recursive reflections and refractions by using an object-impostor technique. Moreover, caustic effects caused by reflections and refractions can be rendered by placing the eye at the light. Rendered results prove that our method is sufficiently efficient to render plausible images interactively for many interactive applications
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