• Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann
  • Daniel Thalmann
Part of the Computer Science Workbench book series (WORKBENCH)


Ray-tracing is an old technique, based on the numerical simulation of geometric optics. Intuitively, it can be seen that light rays can be traced from a light source along their paths until they reach the observer. However, this is a very wasteful approach in computer graphics, because only a few rays coming from a given source actually arrive at the observer (if they ever do). This is why the first algorithms involving ray-tracing carried out the process in the opposite direction, as first suggested by Appel (1968): rays are traced from the observer to the objects in the scene, as shown in Fig. 10.1. The first practical use of the ray-tracing technique in computer animation was the MAGI system (Goldstein and Nagel 1971), which used the algorithm developed by Appel (1968) for solving the hidden-surface problem. Extending this method, MAGI developed the commercial CAD/CAM system SYNTHAVISION. However the most striking application of ray-tracing is the generation of high-quality images involving refraction, reflection, and shadows. The first two implementations of a ray-tracing algorithm for rendering purposes were by Kay and Greenberg (1979) and Whitted (1980).


Motion Blur Raster Image Stochastic Sampling Pinhole Camera Model Strip Tree 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann
    • 1
  • Daniel Thalmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Hautes Etudes CommercialesUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Département d’Informatique et de Recherche OpérationnelleUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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