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Global Illumination


Deep Kernel Density Estimation for Photon Mapping

Shilin Zhu, Zexiang Xu, Henrik Wann Jensen, Hao Su, Ravi Ramamoorthi

Recently, deep learning-based denoising approaches have led to dramatic improvements in low sample-count Monte Carlo rendering. These approaches are aimed at path tracing, which is not ideal for simulating challenging light transport effects like caustics, where photon mapping is the method of choice. However, photon mapping requires very large numbers of traced photons to achieve high-quality reconstructions. In this paper, we develop the first deep learning-based method for particle-based rendering, and specifically focus on photon density estimation, the core of all particle-based methods. We train a novel deep neural network to predict a kernel function to aggregate photon contributions at shading points. Our network encodes individual photons into per-photon features, aggregates them in the neighborhood of a shading point to construct a photon local context vector, and infers a kernel function from the per-photon and photon local context features. This network is easy to incorporate in previous photon mapping methods (by simply swapping the photon density estimator) and can produce high-quality reconstructions of complex global illumination effects like caustics with an order of magnitude fewer photons compared to previous photon mapping methods.

Adaptive Matrix Completion for Fast Visibility Computations with Many Lights Rendering

Sunrise Wang, Nicolas Holzschuch

Several fast global illumination algorithms rely on the Virtual Point Lights framework. This framework separates illumination into two steps: first, propagate radiance in the scene and store it in virtual lights, then gather illumination from these virtual lights. To accelerate the second step, virtual lights and receiving points are grouped hierarchically, for example using Multi-Dimensional Lightcuts. Computing visibility between clusters of virtual lights and receiving points is a bottleneck. Separately, matrix completion algorithms reconstruct completely a low-rank matrix from an incomplete set of sampled elements. In this paper, we use adaptive matrix completion to approximate visibility information after an initial clustering step. We reconstruct visibility information using as little as 7.5% samples, and combine it with shading information computed separately, in parallel on the GPU. Overall, our method computes global illumination 3-5 times faster than previous state-of-the-art methods on most test scenes.