Importance Sampling of Realistic Light Sources

Heqi Lu 1, 2
2 MANAO - Melting the frontiers between Light, Shape and Matter
LaBRI - Laboratoire Bordelais de Recherche en Informatique, Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest, LP2N - Laboratoire Photonique, Numérique et Nanosciences
Abstract : Realistic images can be rendered by simulating light transport with Monte Carlo techniques. The possibility to use realistic light sources for synthesizing images greatly contributes to their physical realism. Among existing models, the ones based on environment maps and light fields are attractive due to their ability to capture faithfully the far-field and near-field effects as well as their possibility of being acquired directly. Since acquired light sources have arbitrary frequencies and possibly high dimension (4D), using such light sources for realistic rendering leads to performance problems.In this thesis, we focus on how to balance the accuracy of the representation and the efficiency of the simulation. Our work relies on generating high quality samples from the input light sources for unbiased Monte Carlo estimation. In this thesis, we introduce three novel methods.The first one is to generate high quality samples efficiently from dynamic environment maps that are changing over time. We achieve this by introducing a GPU approach that generates light samples according to an approximation of the form factor and combines the samples from BRDF sampling for each pixel of a frame. Our method is accurate and efficient. Indeed, with only 256 samples per pixel, we achieve high quality results in real time at 1024 × 768 resolution. The second one is an adaptive sampling strategy for light field light sources (4D), we generate high quality samples efficiently by restricting conservatively the sampling area without reducing accuracy. With a GPU implementation and without any visibility computations, we achieve high quality results with 200 samples per pixel in real time at 1024 × 768 resolution. The performance is still interactive as long as the visibility is computed using our shadow map technique. We also provide a fully unbiased approach by replacing the visibility test with a offline CPU approach. Since light-based importance sampling is not very effective when the underlying material of the geometry is specular, we introduce a new balancing technique for Multiple Importance Sampling. This allows us to combine other sampling techniques with our light-based importance sampling. By minimizing the variance based on a second-order approximation, we are able to find good balancing between different sampling techniques without any prior knowledge. Our method is effective, since we actually reduce in average the variance for all of our test scenes with different light sources, visibility complexity, and materials. Our method is also efficient, by the fact that the overhead of our "black-box" approach is constant and represents 1% of the whole rendering process.
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Heqi Lu. Importance Sampling of Realistic Light Sources. Computer science. Université de Bordeaux, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014BORD0001⟩. ⟨tel-00977100v2⟩

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