GPU accelerated image aligned splatting

N. Neophytou, K. Mueller
Center for Visual Comput., State Univ. of New York, Stony Brook, NY, USA
Volume Graphics, 2005. Fourth International Workshop on In Volume Graphics, 2005. Fourth International Workshop on (2005), pp. 197-242.


   title={GPU accelerated image aligned splatting},

   author={Neophytou, N. and Mueller, K.},

   booktitle={Fourth International Workshop on Volume Graphics, 2005.},





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Splatting is a popular technique for volume rendering, where voxels are represented by Gaussian kernels, whose pre-integrated footprints are accumulated to form the image. Splatting has been mainly used to render pre-shaded volumes, which can result in significant blurring in zoomed views. This can be avoided in the image-aligned splatting scheme, where one accumulates kernel slices into equi-distant, parallel sheet buffers, followed by classification, shading, and compositing. In this work, we attempt to evolve this algorithm to the next level: GPU (graphics processing unit) based acceleration. First we describe the challenges that the highly parallel "Gather" architecture of modern GPUs poses to the "Scatter" based nature of a splatting algorithm. We then describe a number of strategies that exploit newly introduced features of the latest-generation hardware to address these limitations. Two crucial operations to boost the performance in image-aligned splatting are the early elimination of hidden splats and the skipping of empty buffer-space. We describe mechanisms which take advantage of the early z-culling hardware facilities to accomplish both of these operations efficiently in hardware.
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