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Efficient and Predictive Realistic Image Synthesis

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Myszkowski, K. (2001). Efficient and Predictive Realistic Image Synthesis. Habilitation Thesis, Warsaw Institute of Technology, Warsaw, Poland.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-1482-7
Abstract
Synthesis of realistic images which predict the appearance of the real world has many applications including architecture and interior design, illumination engineering, environmental assessment, special effects and film production, along with many others. Due to costly global illumination computation, which is required for the prediction of appearance, physically-based rendering still remains the domain of research laboratories, and is rarely used in industrial practice. The main goal of this work is to analyze problems and provide solutions towards making predictive rendering an efficient and practical tool. First, existing global illumination techniques are discussed, then efficient solutions which handle complex geometry, multiple light sources, and arbitrary light scattering characteristics are proposed. Since real-time lighting computation is not affordable for complex environments, techniques of lighting storage and real-time reconstruction using pre-calculated results are developed. Special attention is paid to the solutions which use perception-guided algorithms to improve their performance. This makes it possible to focus the computation on readily visible scene details, and to stop it when further improvement of the image quality cannot be perceived by the human observer. Also, by better use of perception-motivated physically-based partial solutions, meaningful images can be presented to the user at the early stages of computation. Since many algorithms make simplifying assumptions about the underlying physical model in order to achieve gains in rendering performance, a validation procedure for testing lighting simulation accuracy and image quality is proposed. To check the requirement of appearance predictability imposed on the developed algorithms, the rendered images are compared against the corresponding real-world views.