Tensor Clustering for Rendering Many-Light Animations

M. Hasan, E. Velazquez-Armendariz, F. Pellacini, K. Bala

Computer Graphics Forum (EGSR 2008), 2008

Abstract

Rendering animations of scenes with deformable objects, camera motion, and complex illumination, including indirect lighting and arbitrary shading, is a long-standing challenge. Prior work has shown that complex lighting can be accurately approximated by a large collection of point lights. In this formulation, rendering of animation sequences becomes the problem of efficiently shading many surface samples from many lights across several frames. This paper presents a tensor formulation of the animated many-light problem, where each element of the tensor expresses the contribution of one light to one pixel in one frame. We sparsely sample rows and columns of the tensor, and introduce a clustering algorithm to select a small number of representative lights to efficiently approximate the animation. Our algorithm achieves efficiency by reusing representatives across frames, while minimizing temporal flicker. We demonstrate our algorithm in a variety of scenes that include deformable objects, complex illumination and arbitrary shading and show that a surprisingly small number of representative lights is sufficient for high quality rendering. We believe out algorithm will find practical use in applications that require fast previews of complex animation.

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