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 Lecture Rendering

 SS 2.0 h (3 ECTS), 186.101

 Thomas Auzinger
 K├íroly Zsolnai


Registration and course data is available on the TISS site.


  • Semester hours: 2.0
  • Credits: 3.0
  • Type: VU Lecture and Exercise

Aim of course

This course aims to give an overview of basic and state-of-the-art methods of rendering. Offline methods such as ray and path tracing, photon mapping and many other algorithms are introduced and various refinement are explained.
The basics of the involved physics, such as geometric optics, surface and media interaction with light and camera models are outlined.
The apparatus of Monte Carlo methods is introduced which is heavily used in several algorithms and its refinement in the form of stratified sampling and the Metropolis-Hastings method is explained.

At the end of the course students should be familiar with common techniques in rendering and find their way around the current state-of-the-art of the field. Furthermore the exercises should deepen the attendees' understanding of the basic principles of light transport and enable them to write a simple rendering program themselves.

Subject of course

  • Rendering theory
    Basic optics, rendering equation, filtering
  • Rendering algorithms
    Ray tracing, radiosity, (bi-directional) path tracing, Metropolis light transport, precomputed radiance transfer, (stochastic progressive) photon mapping, irradiance caching, path space regularization, vertex connection and merging
  • Acceleration techniques
    Spatial hierarchies, sampling strategies,
  • Surface representations
    BRDF models: Lambert, Phong, Oren-Nayar, Cook-Torrance, Ashikhmin-Shirley
  • Participating media
    Scattering, volumetric photon mapping, photon beams
  • Higher dimensional effects
    Motion blur, depth of field
  • Camera models
    Pinhole, Perspective, Orthographic
  • Post processing
    HDR, tone mapping

Subject to refinement.

Additional Information


  • Physically Based Rendering, Second Edition: From Theory To Implementation, M. Pharr and G. Humphreys, Homepage, ACM
    The main book of the lecture (referred to as PBRT).

  • Course on Monte-Carlo Methods in Global Illumination, L. Szirmay-Kalos, Link
    A free course scriptum that gives a detailed explanation of the mathematical foundations of Global Illumination.

 Unit 1 - Introduction, Radiometry

  • PBRT, 5.4, 5.5

  • Radiometry, S. Marschner, Link
    Course notes in radiometry

  • A framework for realistic rendering, D. Greenberg, K. Torrance, P. Shirley, J. Arvo, J. A. Ferwerda, S. Pattanaik, E. P. F. Lafortune, B. Walter, S. Foo, B. Trimbone, in Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 97, Link
    Description of an early framework for realistic rendering

Unit 6 - Spatial Acceleration Structures, Filtering, Tone Mapping

  • PBRT, 4, 7

  • High Dynamic Range Imaging, E. Reinhard, W. Heidrich, P. Debevec, S. Pattanaik, G. Ward, K. Myszkowski , 2010, Homepage

  • References to various papers at the end of the presentation slides of unit 06.


Lecture slides

Student feedbacks for 2013 are available here.
Based on your feedbacks, I have added the following (Károly Zsolnai):
- Added the names in the LuxRender scene committee (Unit 05, slide ~236),
- Added some useful tips in the Blender Bonus unit (slide 12),
- I have updated smallpaint with a lot more comments to be more understandable.

Lots of new things are now added to the State-of-the-art lecture notes:
- PSSMLT rendering visualizations slides 133-134.,
- SPPM rendering visualization, slide 164,
- SPPM advantages/disadvantages, slides 171-173,
- Manifold Exploration MLT visualization, slide 216,
- PSSMLT and Manifold Exploration MLT side-by-side render comparison, slide 218.

These visualizations are lots of fun, and they are also worth a thousand words. Be sure to check them out!


If you spot any errors anywhere on the slides, please write to us!

Course Gallery




Course dates

Day Time Date Location Description Approval
Wed 13:00 - 15:00 06.03.2013 - 26.06.2013 Seminar Room 186 Lecture
Sun 23:59 - 23:59 17.03.2013 Email to both lecturers with correctly formatted subject and attachment filename Deadline Assignment 0
Wed 23:59 - 23:59 01.05.2013 Email to both lecturers with correctly formatted subject and attachment filename Deadline Assignment 1
  • Show single appointments

Examination modalities

Practical and mathematical assignments.
Final oral exam.

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
27.02.2013 00:00 19.03.2013 23:59 19.03.2013 23:59

Registration modalities:

Registration via TISS


Study Code Semester Precon. Info
066 932 Visual Computing
066 950 Didactic for Informatics
860 GW Optional Courses - Technical Mathematics


No lecture notes are available.

Preceding courses


  • Attendance Required!



Last update by Thomas Auzinger on 26.02.2013.
Comments to thomas.auzinger (at) cg.tuwien.ac.at.
get back to the index

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