Noise-resistant fitting for spherical harmonics

Ping-Man Lam, Chi-Sing Leung, Tien-Tsin Wong
Dept. of Electron. Eng., City Univ. of Hong Kong, Kowloon, China
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2006


   title={Noise-resistant fitting for spherical harmonics},

   author={Lam, P.M. and Leung, C.S. and Wong, T.T.},

   journal={IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics},



   publisher={Published by the IEEE Computer Society}


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Spherical harmonic (SH) basis functions have been widely used for representing spherical functions in modeling various illumination properties. They can compactly represent low-frequency spherical functions. However, when the unconstrained least square method is used for estimating the SH coefficients of a hemispherical function, the magnitude of these SH coefficients could be very large. Hence, the rendering result is very sensitive to quantization noise (introduced by modern texture compression like S3TC, IEEE half float data type on GPU, or other lossy compression methods) in these SH coefficients. Our experiments show that, as the precision of SH coefficients are reduced, the rendered images may exhibit annoying visual artifacts. To reduce the noise sensitivity of the SH coefficients, this paper first discusses how the magnitude of SH coefficients affects the rendering result when there is quantization noise. Then, two fast fitting methods for estimating the noise-resistant SH coefficients are proposed. They can effectively control the magnitude of the estimated SH coefficients and, hence, suppress the rendering artifacts. Both statistical and visual results confirm our theory.
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