Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 1225–1245 | Cite as

A quadratic spline approximation using detail multi-layer for soft shadow generation in augmented reality

  • Hoshang KolivandEmail author
  • Zakiah Noh
  • Mohd Shahrizal Sunar


Implementation of shadows is crucial to enhancement of images in AR environments. Without shadows, virtual objects would look floating over the scene resulting in unrealistic rendering of AR environments. Casting hard shadows would provide only spatial information while soft shadows help improve realism of AR environments. Several algorithms have been proposed to render realistic shadows which often incurred high computational costs. Little attention has been directed towards the balanced trade-off between shadow quality and computational costs. In this study, two approaches are proposed: Quadratic Spline Interpolation (QSI) to soften the outline of the shadow and Detail Multi-Layer (DML) technique to optimize the volume of computations for the generation of soft shadows based on real light sources. QSI estimates boarder hard shadow samples while DML involves three main phases: real light sources estimation, soft shadow production and reduction of the complexity of 3-Dimensional objects’ shadows. To be more precise, a reflective hemisphere is used to capture real light and to create an environment map. The Median Cut algorithm is implemented to locate the direction of real light sources on the environment map. Subsequently, the original hard shadows are retrieved and a sample of multilayer hard shadows is produced where each layer has its unique size and colour. These layers overlap to produce soft shadows based on the real light sources’ directions. Finally, the Level of Details (LOD) algorithm is implemented to increase the efficiency of soft shadows by decreasing the complexity of vertex transformations. The proposed technique is tested using three samples of multilayer hard shadows with varying numbers of light sources generated from the Median Cut algorithm. The experimental results show that the proposed technique successfully produces realistic soft shadows at low computational costs.


Augmented reality Shadow generation Soft shadows Reflective sphere Environment map 



This research was supported by Vot. J13000.7282.4F085 FRGS grant at the UTM VicubeLab, Department of Computer Graphics and Multimedia, Faculty of Computing, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hoshang Kolivand
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zakiah Noh
    • 1
  • Mohd Shahrizal Sunar
    • 1
  1. 1.UTM ViCubelab, Department of Computer Graphics and Multimedia, Faculty of Computer Science and Information SystemsUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaSkudai JohorMalaysia

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