Proceedings: GI 2009

Fast visualization of complex 3D models using displacement mapping

The-Kiet Lu, Kok-Lim Low, Jianmin Zheng

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2009: Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, 25 - 27 May 2009, 7-14

  • BibTex

    author = {Lu, The-Kiet and Low, Kok-Lim and Zheng, Jianmin},
    title = {Fast visualization of complex 3D models using displacement mapping},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2009},
    series = {GI 2009},
    year = {2009},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-56881-470-4},
    location = {Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada},
    pages = {7--14},
    numpages = {8},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


We present a simple method to render complex 3D models at interactive rates using real-time displacement mapping. We use an octree to decompose the 3D model into a set of height fields and display the model by rendering the height fields using per-pixel displacement mapping. By simply rendering the faces of the octree voxels to produce fragments for ray-casting on the GPU, and with straightforward transformation of view rays to the displacement map's local space, our method is able to accurately render the object's silhouettes with very little special handling. The algorithm is especially suitable for fast visualization of high-detail point-based models, and models made up of unprocessed triangle meshes that come straight from range scanning. This is because our method requires much less preprocessing time compared to the traditional triangle-based rendering approach, which usually needs a large amount of computation to preprocess the input model into one that can be rendered more efficiently. Unlike the point-based rendering approach, the rendering efficiency of our method is not limited by the number of input points. Our method can achieve interactive rendering of models with more than 300 millions points on standard graphics hardware.