GPU algorithms for radiosity and subsurface scattering

Nathan A. Carr, Jesse D. Hall, John C. Hart
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS conference on Graphics hardware, HWWS ’03 (2003)


   title={GPU algorithms for radiosity and subsurface scattering},

   author={Carr, N.A. and Hall, J.D. and Hart, J.C.},

   booktitle={Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS conference on Graphics hardware},




   organization={Eurographics Association}


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We capitalize on recent advances in modern programmable graphics hardware, originally designed to support advanced local illumination models for shading, to instead perform two different kinds of global illumination models for light transport. We first use the new floating-point texture map formats to find matrix radiosity solutions for light transport in a diffuse environment, and use this example to investigate the differences between GPU and CPU performance on matrix operations. We then examine multiple-scattering subsurface light transport, which can be modeled to resemble a single radiosity gathering step. We use a multiresolution meshed atlas to organize a hierarchy of precomputed subsurface links, and devise a three-pass GPU algorithm to render in real time the subsurface-scattered illumination of an object, with dynamic lighting and viewing.
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