Rapid Shadow Generation in Real-World Lighting Environments

Simon Gibson, Jon Cook, Toby Howard, Roger Hubbold.
Rendering Techniques 2003 (Proceedings of the Eurographics Symposium on Rendering), Leuven, Belgium, June 2003 (to appear).


We propose a new algorithm that uses consumer-level graphics hardware to render shadows cast by synthetic objects and a real lighting environment. This has immediate benefit for interactive Augmented Reality applications, where synthetic objects must be accurately merged with real images. We show how soft shadows cast by direct and indirect illumination sources may be generated and composited into a background image at interactive rates. We describe how the sources of light (and hence shadow) affecting each point in an image can be efficiently encoded using a hierarchical shaft-based subdivision of line-space. This subdivision is then used to determine the sources of light that are occluded by synthetic objects, and we show how the contributions from these sources may be removed from a background image using facilities available on modern graphics hardware. A trade-off may be made at run-time between shadow accuracy and rendering cost, converging towards a result that is subjectively similar to that obtained using ray-tracing based differential rendering algorithms. Examples of the proposed technique are given for a variety of different lighting environments, and the visual fidelity of images generated by our algorithm is compared to both real photographs and synthetic images generated using non-real-time techniques.

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