Opacity Shadow Maps
Opacity shadow maps approximate light transmittance inside a complex volume with a set of planar opacity maps. A volume made of standard primitives (points, lines, and polygons) is sliced and rendered with graphics hardware to each opacity map that stores alpha values instead of traditionally used depth values. The alpha values are sampled in the maps enclosing each primitive point and interpolated for shadow computation. The algorithm is memory efficient and extensively exploits existing graphics hardware. The method is suited for generation of self-shadows in discontinuous volumes with explicit geometry, such as foliage, fur, and hairs. Continuous volumes such as clouds and smoke may also benefit from the approach.
KeywordsTransmittance Function Graphic Hardware Depth Buffer Discontinuous Volume Volumetric Object
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