No fire without smoke: smoke rendering and light interaction for real-time computer graphics

  • Christopher Bass

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


    Realism in computer graphics depends upon digitally representing what we see in the world with careful attention to detail, which usually requires a high degree of complexity in modelling the scene. With some computer graphics applications developers have to limit the complexity of the scene to allow the application to run in real-time on modern consumer grade graphics hardware. This trade-off between realism and performance means that new techniques are continually being developed, the aim of which is to
    improve the realism of a scene without compromising the real-time performance.

    Shadows provide an important visual clue to where objects are positioned in a computer-generated scene, because without shadowing objects can look like they are floating above the ground. Rendering shadows becomes even more important when translucent media, such as smoke, is rendered. Without shadowing smoke can look like it is not part of a scene and without position or shape, appearing as unrealistic.

    This thesis charts our investigation of methods for modelling computer generated smoke, techniques for global lighting, and the shadowing of solid objects. We examine the rendering of smoke, its interaction with lighting, and how visually plausible shadows can
    be added to smoke.

    We describe and discuss a novel method for casting shadows through a GPU-based particle system from an opaque solid object. We also describe a new approach for ambient lighting, which we refer to as Surface-Curvature Ambient Occlusion (SCAO), taking advantage of the geometry shader in the Direct3D 10 programmable graphics pipeline.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University

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