Interactive Indirect Illumination Using Adaptive Multiresolution Splatting

Greg Nichols, Chris Wyman
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2009


   title={Interactive indirect illumination using adaptive multiresolution splatting},

   author={Nichols, G. and Wyman, C.},

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



   publisher={IEEE Computer Society}


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Global illumination provides a visual richness not achievable with the direct illumination models used by most interactive applications. To generate global effects, numerous approximations attempt to reduce global illumination costs to levels feasible in interactive contexts. One such approximation, reflective shadow maps, samples a shadow map to identify secondary light sources whose contributions are splatted into eye space. This splatting introduces significant overdraw that is usually reduced by artificially shrinking each splat’s radius of influence. This paper introduces a new multiresolution approach for interactively splatting indirect illumination. Instead of reducing GPU fill rate by reducing splat size, we reduce fill rate by rendering splats into a multiresolution buffer. This takes advantage of the low-frequency nature of diffuse and glossy indirect lighting, allowing rendering of indirect contributions at low resolution where lighting changes slowly and at high-resolution near discontinuities. Because this multiresolution rendering occurs on a per-splat basis, we can significantly reduce fill rate without arbitrarily clipping splat contributions below a given threshold-those regions simply are rendered at a coarse resolution.
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