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Toward Practical Real-Time Photon Mapping: Efficient GPU Density Estimation

Michael Mara, David Luebke, Morgan McGuire
NVIDIA
Interactive 3D Graphics and Games, 2013

@inproceedings{Mara13Photon,

   author={Michael Mara and Morgan McGuire and David Luebke},

   title={Toward Practical Real-Time Photon Mapping: Efficient GPU Density Estimation},

   month={March},

   year={2013},

   booktitle={Interactive 3D Graphics and Games 2013},

   location={Orlando, Florida},

   url={http://graphics.cs.williams.edu/papers/PhotonI3D13/}

}

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We describe the design space for real-time photon density estimation, the key step of rendering global illumination (GI) via photon mapping. We then detail and analyze efficient GPU implementations of four best-of-breed algorithms. All produce reasonable results on NVIDIA GeForce 670 at 1920×1080 for complex scenes with multiple-bounce diffuse effects, caustics, and glossy reflection in real-time. Across the designs we conclude that tiled, deferred photon gathering in a compute shader gives the best combination of performance and quality.
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