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Scalable Height Field Self-Shadowing

Ville Timonen, Jan Westerholm, Scalable Height Field Self-Shadowing. Computer Graphics Forum 29(2), 723–731, 2010.


We present a new method suitable for general purpose graphics processing units to render
self-shadows on dynamic height fields under dynamic light environments in real-time. Visibility
for each point in the height field is determined as the exact horizon for a set of azimuthal
directions in time linear in height field size and the number of directions. The surface is
shaded using the horizon information and a high-resolution light environment extracted on-line
from a high dynamic range cube map, allowing for detailed extended shadows. The desired
accuracy for any geometric content and lighting complexity can be matched by choosing a
suitable number of azimuthal directions. Our method is able to represent arbitrary features of
both high- and low-frequency, unifying hard and soft shadowing. We achieve 23 fps on
1024×1024 height fields with 64 azimuthal directions under a 256×64 environment lighting on
an Nvidia GTX 280 GPU.

BibTeX entry:

  title = {Scalable Height Field Self-Shadowing},
  author = {Timonen, Ville and Westerholm, Jan},
  journal = {Computer Graphics Forum},
  volume = {29},
  number = {2},
  pages = {723–731},
  year = {2010},

Belongs to TUCS Research Unit(s): High Performance Computing and Communication

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