Recent Advances in Light-Transport Simulation: Some Theory and a Lot of Practice

Tuesday, 12 August 2:00 PM - 5:15 PM | Vancouver Convention Centre, West Building, Rooms 109-110

Recent Advances in Light-Transport Simulation: Some Theory and a Lot of Practice

We are witnessing a renewed research interest in robust and efficient light-transport simulation based on statistical methods. This research effort is propelled by the desire to accurately render general environments with complex materials and light sources, which is often difficult with the industry-standard ad hoc solutions. In addition, it has been recognized that advanced methods, which can render many effects in one pass without excessive tweaking, increase artists’ productivity and allow them to focus on their creative work. For this reason, the movie industry is shifting away from approximate rendering solutions towards physically based rendering methods, which poses new challenges in terms of strict requirements on high image quality and algorithm robustness.

Many of the recent advances in light-transport simulation, such as new Markov-chain Monte Carlo methods, the robust combination of bidirectional path tracing with photon mapping, or path-space filtering are made possible by interpreting light transport as an integral in the space of light paths. However, there is a great deal of confusion among practitioners and researchers alike regarding these path-space methods.

The main contribution of the theoretical part of the course is a coherent review of the path-integral formulation of light transport and its applications, including the most recent ones. The course demonstrates that rendering algorithms that may seem complex at first sight are in fact naturally derived from this general framework. It also shows that the path-integral framework makes the extension of the surface-based algorithm to volumetric media extremely simple. The course includes an extensive empirical comparison of the various light-transport algorithms. A substantial part of the course is then devoted to application of advanced light-transport simulation and path-sampling methods in practical rendering tasks in architectural visualization and VFX.

Course Schedule

2 pm
Introduction and Welcome

2:05 pm
Path Integral Formulation of Light Transport

2:30 pm
Combining Bidirectional Path Tracing and Photon Mapping

2:50 pm
Path Space Filtering

3:10 pm
Comparison of Various Light Transport Methods

3:30 pm

3:45 pm
Efficiency = Good Importance Sampling
Fajardo and Georgiev

4:05 pm
Pixar's Fast Lighting Preview
Meyer and Nahmias

4:25 pm
Corona Renderer: It’s All About Usability

4:45 pm
Advanced Light Transport in the VFX/Archiviz industry

5:05 pm
Conclusion – Questions and Answers

Jaroslav Křivánek
Charles University in Prague

Alexander Keller
NVIDIA Research

Iliyan Georgiev
Solid Angle SL

Anton Kaplanyan
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Marcos Fajardo
Solid Angle SL

Mark Meyer
Pixar Animation Studios

Jean-Daniel Nahmias
Pixar Animation Studios

Ondřej Karlík
Charles University in Prague, Render Legion s.r.o.

Juan Cañada
Next Limit Technologies