Real-Time Global Illumination

Siggraph 2009 Course

Carsten Dachsbacher      Jan Kautz

Course Description

Global illumination is an important factor in creating realistic scenes and provides visual cues for understanding scene geometry. However, global illumination is very costly and only recently has it become viable to render scenes with global illumination effects at interactive frame rates by exploiting the parallelism and programmability of modern GPUs. These recent GPU-based algorithms enable the computation of global illumination solutions for fully dynamic scenes and are of interest to both the academic research community and practitioners of interactive computer graphics.

In this course, we will give a concise overview of recent GPU-based global illumination techniques that support fully dynamic scenes, compare them and discuss their various strengths and weaknesses. After introducing the necessary foundation (rendering equation, direct vs. indirect illumination, etc.), we cover the three main streams of real-time global illumination techniques: virtual point lights, screen-space techniques, and hierarchical finite elements. For each sub-topic, we first give a brief overview of the basic idea and continue with recent GPU-based methods sharing the same basic idea.



Carsten Dachsbacher, University of Stuttgart, Germany

Carsten Dachsbacher is an Assistant Professor at the Visualization Research Center (VISUS) of the University of Stuttgart. Prior to joining VISUS, he has been post-doctoral fellow at REVES/INRIA Sophia-Antipolis, France. He received a PhD from the University of Erlangen, Germany. His research includes real-time computer graphics, interactive global illumination, and GPU techniques. He has published several articles at various conferences including SIGGRAPH and Eurographics. Carsten has been a tutorial speaker at Eurographics and the Game Developers Conference.

Jan Kautz, University College London, London, UK

Jan Kautz is an Assistant Professor at the University College London in the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics Group. Before that he was a Post-Doc with the graphics group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from the Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik, Germany. He is particularly interested in realistic rendering, on which he has published several articles at various conferences including SIGGRAPH. Jan has been a tutorial speaker on real-time shading at Eurographics, SIGGRAPH, and others.