Real-time rendering of translucent meshes

TitleReal-time rendering of translucent meshes
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsHao X, Varshney A
JournalACM Trans. Graph.
Pagination120 - 142
Date Published2004/04//
ISBN Number0730-0301
KeywordsBSSRDF, local illumination, reflection models, subsurface scattering

Subsurface scattering is important for photo-realistic rendering of translucent materials. We make approximations to the BSSRDF model and propose a simple lighting model to simulate the effects on translucent meshes. Our approximations are based on the observation that subsurface scattering is relatively local due to its exponential falloff.In the preprocessing stage we build subsurface scattering neighborhood information, which includes all the vertices within effective scattering range from each vertex. We then modify the traditional local illumination model into a run-time two-stage process. The first stage involves computation of reflection and transmission of light on surface vertices. The second stage bleeds in scattering effects from a vertex's neighborhood to generate the final result. We then merge the run-time two-stage process into a run-time single-stage process using precomputed integrals, and reduce the complexity of our run-time algorithm to O(N), where N is the number of vertices. The selection of the optimum set size for precomputed integrals is guided by a standard imagespace error-metric. Furthermore, we show how to compress the precomputed integrals using spherical harmonics. We compensate for the inadequacy of spherical harmonics for storing high frequency components by a reference points scheme to store high frequency components of the precomputed integrals explicitly. With this approach, we greatly reduce memory usage without loss of visual quality under a high-frequency lighting environment and achieve interactive frame rates for medium-sized scenes. Our model is able to capture the most important features of subsurface scattering: reflection and transmission due to multiple scattering.