Wrapping up I3D: Saturday and Sunday

Well, my intention to have an update of favorites every day clearly didn’t last past the first day. So, of two more days of the ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games, here’s what stood out to me…

LEAN MappingI’ll selfishly start with my own paper, LEAN mapping by Marc Olano and Dan Baker. It solves problems with aliasing normal and bump maps, lets you blend multiple layers of bumps for decals or animated bumpy surfaces, and will be shipping in Civ V. Oh, and it’s insanely fast, even on old hardware. What’s not to like?

My clear choice for favorite paper this year by someone other than me was Fourier Opacity Mapping by Jon Jansen and Louis Bavoil. This is another method already seeing game use, this one in Batman: Arkham Asylum, but that’s not why I like it. They essentially construct a deep shadow map in the Fourier basis in a simple unsorted additive rendering pass. Good for low-frequency shadowing effects like smoke and fog. Somehow I just like papers that use a little elegant math to solve a rendering problem in a efficient real-time way.
Finally, proving there is more than one way to skin a volumetric lighting effect in participating media, there were a couple of nice papers Saturday on rendering light rays through a hazy environment. The first is Interactive Volume Caustics in Single-Scattering Media by Wei Hu, Zhao Dong, Ivo Ihrke, Thosten Grosch and Hans-Peter Seidel. The second was Epipolar Sampling for Shadows and Crepuscular Rays in Participating Media with Single Scattering by Thomas Engelhardt and Carsten Dachsbacher