Sunday, September 12, 2010

SIGGRAPH 2010 Course Papers Overview

I've managed to work through the SIGGRAPH 2010 course content that relates to realtime rendering. I quite liked the Toy Story 3 rendering techniques and realtime rendering survey by nVidia- just because they give a nice overview. As always, there are a number of great presentations, and I've listed the ones that I found interesting below.
  • Toy Story 3 : The Video Game Rendering Techniques from Avalanche Software gives a great (211 page!) overview of a number of lighting issues for the game including SSAO (various optimizations/approximations for how/where to sample, faking more samples and dealing with large differences in depth), ambient lighting (without needing to bake it or do GI) and various aspects on shadows. A great read!
  • Surveying Real-Time Rendering Algorithms by David Luebke from nVidia gives an excellent short overview of a number of recent developments in realtime rendering algorithms including stochastic transparency (ie : transparency via random sampling), sample distribution for shadow maps (partitioning the scene in light-space), alias-free shadow maps, append-consume order-independent-transparency (sorting per-pixel & linked-lists), progressive photon mapping, image-space photon mapping, ambient occlusion volumes (how to speed it up with bitwise occlusion mask for each triangle - one per edge, and one for the triangle plane), stochastic rasterization (of 4d triangles)
  • Keeping Many Cores Busy: Scheduling the Graphics Pipeline by Jonathan Ragan-Kelly from MIT gives a great overview of the graphics pipeline stages (from Input Assembler, Vertex Shader, Primitive Assembler, Tesselation, Geometry Shader, Rasterizer, Pixel Shader, and finally Output Blending) and load balancing.
  • Uncharted 2 - Character Lighting and Shading by John Hable from Naughty Dog gives a fabulous overview of rendering issues with skin (in a lot of detail!), hair and clothes.
  • Bending the Graphics Pipeline by Johan Andersson from DICE describes tile-based deferred shading (for GPU and SPU), morphological antialiasing and analytical ambient occlusion.
  • A real-time Radiosity Architecture for Video Games by Sam Martin and Per Einarsson from DICE/Geomerics introduce the 'Enlighten' system for realtime GI - it gives a nice overview.
  • Evolving the Direct3D Pipeline for Real-­time Micropolygon Rendering by Kayvon Fatahalian from Stanford University gives an interesting insight on Micropolygon rendering on current GPU pipelines.
  • Water Flow in Portal 2 by Alex Vlachos - I've already written about this previously, just another realtime technique for faking the simulation and rendering of water flow.
  • Making Concept Real For Borderlands by Gearbox Software contains some nice examples of their concept art, the development change from photorealistic to stylistic rendering and art (and the code/artist balance), and the sobel edge filter they used.
  • The notes from the volumetric course was broken into parts:

    1. "Resolution Independent Volumes" - which describes the "Field Expression Language Toolkit", cloud modelling (via density displacement), morphing objects (by using the Nacelle Algorithm to generate warp fields), cutting models, fluid dynamics, gridless advection, and semi-lagrangian mapping (balancing between grids and non-grids).
    2. "Mantra Volume Rendering" - this describes the volume rendering engine for Houdini.
    3. "Volumetric Modeling and Rendering" describes the volumetrics library/API developed at Dreamworks.
    4. "Double Negative Renderer B" (used in Batman Begins, Harry Potter, etc.) describes the workflow and various shaders (Fluid, Particle, Voxel, Fire, Smoke) in DNB
    5. "Volume Rendering at Sony Pictures Imageworks". The section from Sony Imageworks included an overview of their pipeline and content on their open source field/fluid tools.

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