Radiance Interpolants for Accelerated Bounded-Error Ray Tracing


Ray tracers, which sample radiance, are usually regarded as offline rendering algorithms that are too slow for interactive use. In this article we present a system that exploits object-space, ray-space, image-space, and temporal coherence to accelerate ray tracing. Our system uses per-surface interpolants to approximate radiance both interactive and batch ray tracers. Our approach explicity decouples the two primary operations of a ray tracer—shading and visibility determination—and accelerates each of them independently. Shading is accelerated by quadrilinearily interpolating lazily acquired radiance samples. Interpolation error does not exceed a user-specified bound, allowing the user to control performance/quality tradeoffs. Error is bounded by adaptive sampling at discontinuities and radiance nonlinearities. Visibility determination at pixels is accelerated by reprojecting interpolants as the user’s viewpoint changes. A fast scan-line alogoithm then achieves high performance without sacrificing image quality. For a smoothly varying viewpoint, the combination of lazy interpolants and projection substantially accelerates the ray tracer. Additionally, an efficient cache management algorithm keeps the memory footprint of the system small with negilgible overhead.