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Advanced Illumination Techniques for GPU-Based Volume Raycasting (ACM)
Volume raycasting Abstract techniques are important for both visual arts and visualization. They allow an efficient generation of visual effects and the visualization of scientific data obtained by tomography or numerical simulation. Thanks to their flexibility, experts agree that GPU-based raycasting is the state-of-the art technique for interactive volume rendering. It will most likely replace existing slice-based techniques in the near future. Volume rendering techniques are also effective for the direct rendering of implicit surfaces used for soft body animation and constructive solid geometry. The lecture starts off with an in-depth introduction to the concepts behind GPU-based ray-casting to provide a common base for the following parts. The focus of this course is on advanced illumination techniques which approximate the physically-based light transport more convincingly. Such techniques include interactive implementation of soft and hard shadows, ambient occlusion and simple Monte-Carlo based approaches to global illumination including translucency and scattering. With the proposed techniques, users are able to interactively create convincing images from volumetric data whose visual quality goes far beyond traditional approaches. The optical properties in participating media are defined using the phase function. Many approximations to the physically based light transport applied for rendering natural phenomena such as clouds or smoke assume a rather homogenous phase function model. For rendering volumetric scans on the other hand different phase function models are required to account for both surface-like structures and fuzzy boundaries in the data. Using volume rendering techniques, artists who create medical visualization for science magazines may now work on tomographic scans directly, without the necessity to fall back to creating polygonal models of anatomical structures.