The Visual Computer

, Volume 34, Issue 10, pp 1415–1426 | Cite as

Intermediate shadow maps for interactive many-light rendering

  • Lili WangEmail author
  • Wenhao Zhang
  • Nian Li
  • Boning Zhang
  • Voicu Popescu
Original Article


We present an efficient method for computing shadows for many light sources (e.g., 1024). Our work is based on the observation that conventional shadow mapping becomes redundant as the number of lights increases. First, we sample the scene with a constant number of depth images (e.g., 10), which we call intermediate shadow maps. Then the shadow map for each light is approximated by rendering triangles reconstructed from the intermediate shadow maps. The cost of rendering these triangles is much smaller than rendering the original geometry of a complex scene. The algorithm supports fully dynamic scenes. Our results show that our method can produce soft shadows comparable to those obtained by conventional shadow mapping for each light source or by ray tracing, but at a higher frame rate.


Many lights Visibility Shadow mapping 



This work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China through Projects 61272349, 61190121 and 61190125 and by the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China through 863 Program No.2013AA01A604.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 46329 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lili Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wenhao Zhang
    • 1
  • Nian Li
    • 1
  • Boning Zhang
    • 1
  • Voicu Popescu
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Virtual Reality Technology and Systems, School of Computer Science and EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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