Proceedings: GI 2014

Interactive light scattering with principal-ordinate propagation

Oskar Elek , Tobias Ritschel , Carsten Dachsbacher , Hans-Peter Seidel

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2014: Montréal, Québec, Canada, 7 - 9 May 2014, 87-94

DOI 10.20380/GI2014.11

  • Bibtex

    author = {Elek, Oskar and Ritschel, Tobias and Dachsbacher, Carsten and Seidel, Hans-Peter},
    title = {Interactive light scattering with principal-ordinate propagation},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2014},
    series = {GI 2014},
    year = {2014},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4822-6003-8},
    location = {Montr{\'e}al, Qu{\'e}bec, Canada},
    pages = {87--94},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2014.11},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


Efficient light transport simulation in participating media is challenging in general, but especially if the medium is heterogeneous and exhibits significant multiple anisotropic scattering. We present a novel finite-element method that achieves interactive rendering speeds on modern GPUs without imposing any significant restrictions on the rendered participated medium. We achieve this by dynamically decomposing all illumination into directional and point light sources, and propagating the light from these virtual sources in independent discrete propagation volumes. These are individually aligned with approximate principal directions of light propagation from the respective light sources. Such decomposition allows us to use a very simple and computationally efficient unimodal basis for representing the propagated radiance, instead of using a general basis such as Spherical Harmonics. The presented approach is biased but physically plausible, and largely reduces rendering artifacts inherent to standard finite-element methods while allowing for virtually arbitrary scattering anisotropy and other properties of the simulated medium, without requiring any precomputation.