Volumetric Ambient Occlusion for Real-Time Rendering and Games

Laszlo Szirmay-Kalos, Tamas Umenhoffer, Balazs Toth, Laszlo Szecsi, Mateu Sbert
Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary
IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 2010


   title={Volumetric ambient occlusion for real-time rendering and games},

   author={Szirmay-Kalos, L. and Umenhoffer, T. and T{‘o}th, B. and Sz{‘e}csi, L. and Sbert, M.},

   journal={Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE},







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This new algorithm, based on GPUs, can compute ambient occlusion to inexpensively approximate global-illumination effects in real-time systems and games. The first step in deriving this algorithm is to examine how ambient occlusion relates to the physically founded rendering equation. The correspondence stems from a fuzzy membership function that defines what constitutes nearby occlusions. The next step is to develop a method to calculate ambient occlusion in real time without precomputation. The algorithm is based on a novel interpretation of ambient occlusion that measures the relative volume of the visible part of the surface’s tangent sphere. The new formula’s integrand has low variation and thus can be estimated accurately with a few samples.
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