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Scalable Height Field Self-Shadowing

Ville Timonen, Jan Westerholm, Scalable Height Field Self-Shadowing. TUCS Technical Reports 957, Turku Centre for Computer Science, 2009.


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 is determined as the exact horizon from the height field 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
1024x1024 height fields with 64 azimuthal directions under 256x64 environment lighting on an
Nvidia GTX 280 GPU.

BibTeX entry:

  title = {Scalable Height Field Self-Shadowing},
  author = {Timonen, Ville and Westerholm, Jan},
  number = {957},
  series = {TUCS Technical Reports},
  publisher = {Turku Centre for Computer Science},
  year = {2009},
  ISBN = {978-952-12-2361-7},

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

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