Density Control for Photon Maps

  • Frank Suykens
  • Yves D. Willems
Conference paper
Part of the Eurographics book series (EUROGRAPH)


The photon map method allows efficient computation of global illumination in general scenes. Individual photon hits, generated using Monte Carlo particle tracing, are stored in the maps and form a geometry independent representation of the illumination. Two important issues with the photon map are memory requirements to store the photons and the question how many photons are needed for an accurate representation of illumination in a certain scene. In this paper we introduce a method to control the density of photon maps by storing photons selectively based on a local required density criterion. This reduces memory usage significantly since in unimportant or over-dense regions less photons are stored. Results for caustic photon maps and global photon maps representing full illumination show a decrease in number of photons of a factor of 2 to 5. The required density states how accurate the photon map should be at a certain location and determines how many photons are needed in total. We also derive such a criterion based on a novel path-importance-based first pass, taking some steps towards solving the difficult ‘how many photons’ question.


Global Illumination Density Control Require Density Specular Surface Pixel Error 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Suykens
    • 1
  • Yves D. Willems
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceK.U. LeuvenBelgium

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