Proceedings: GI 2007

Packet-based whitted and distribution ray tracing

Solomon Boulos, Dave Edwards, Dylan Lacewell, Joe Kniss, Jan Kautz, Peter Shirley, Ingo Wald

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2007: Montréal, Québec, Canada, 28 - 30 May 2007, 177-184

DOI 10.1145/1268517.1268547

  • BibTex

    author = {Boulos, Solomon and Edwards, Dave and Lacewell, Dylan and Kniss, Joe and Kautz, Jan and Shirley, Peter and Wald, Ingo},
    title = {Packet-based whitted and distribution ray tracing},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2007},
    series = {GI 2007},
    year = {2007},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-56881-337-0},
    location = {Montr{\'e}al, Qu{\'e}bec, Canada},
    pages = {177--184},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.1145/1268517.1268547},
    acmdoi = {10.1145/1268517.1268547},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada},


Much progress has been made toward interactive ray tracing, but most research has focused specifically on ray casting. A common approach is to use "packets" of rays to amortize cost across sets of rays. Whether "packets" can be used to speed up the cost of reflection and refraction rays is unclear. The issue is complicated since such rays do not share common origins and often have less directional coherence than viewing and shadow rays. Since the primary advantage of ray tracing over rasterization is the computation of global effects, such as accurate reflection and refraction, this lack of knowledge should be corrected. We are also interested in exploring whether distribution ray tracing, due to its stochastic properties, further erodes the effectiveness of techniques used to accelerate ray casting. This paper addresses the question of whether packet-based ray tracing algorithms can be effectively used for more than visibility computation. We show that by choosing an appropriate data structure and a suitable packet assembly algorithm we can extend the idea of "packets" from ray casting to Whitted-style and distribution ray tracing, while maintaining efficiency.