Interactive Rendering of Caustics using Interpolated Warped Volumes

Manfred Ernst (University of Erlangen)
Tomas Akenine-Moller (Lund University)
Henrik Wann Jensen (UCSD)

A cardiod caustic

A metallic ring on a wooden floor creates the classic cardioid-shaped caustics, rendered at 512x512 pixels with 2x64x8 triangles on the ring. From left to right: a) the full scene rendered using our new algorithm, b) closeup of algorithm using constant intensity across caustic triangles (62 fps from the view in the leftmost image), c) closeup of our algorithm using interpolation (47 fps without any precomputation from the view in the leftmost image), d) closeup of the reference image computed using photon mapping with one million photons (130 seconds)


In this paper we present an improved technique for interactive rendering of caustics using programmable graphics hardware. Previous real-time methods have used simple prisms for the caustic volumes and a constant intensity approximation at the receiver. Our approach uses interpolated caustic volumes to render smooth high-quality caustics. We have derived a simple formula for evaluating the density of wave-fronts along a caustic ray, and we have developed a precise method for rendering caustic volumes bounded by bilinear patches. The new optimizations are well suited for programmable graphics hardware and our results demonstrate interactive rendering of caustics from refracting and reflecting surfaces as well as volume caustics. In contrast to previous work, our method renders high quality caustics generated by specular surfaces with much fewer polygons.

Manfred Ernst, Tomas Akenine-Moller, Henrik Wann Jensen.
"Interactive Rendering of Caustics using Interpolated Warped Volumes".
Graphics Interface 2005

interactive_caustics.pdf (5.6MB)