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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.

Student feedbacks for 2013 and 2014 are available here.

The whole course is now available in video!


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

Aim of the 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 the 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.


Lecture slides

  • Unit 01 - Introduction, Radiometry (Thomas Auzinger)
  • Unit 02 - The Rendering Equation and Ray Tracing (Károly Zsolnai) - The full unit is now uploaded.
  • Unit 03 - Global Illumination and Path Tracing (Károly Zsolnai) - The full unit is now uploaded.  
  • Unit 04 - Part 01 - Spatial Acceleration Structures (Thomas Auzinger)
  • Unit 04 - Part 02 - Tonemapping (Thomas Auzinger)
  • Unit 05 - Part 01 - Participating Media (Thomas Auzinger)
  • Unit 05 - Part 02 - Subsurface Scattering (Thomas Auzinger)
  • Unit 06 - Smallpaint code walkthrough (Károly Zsolnai)
  • Unit 07 - State of the art in Global Illumination (Károly Zsolnai) - the full unit and the last lecture video is now available.
  • Bonus Unit - Blender and LuxRender (Károly Zsolnai) - please note that LuxRender's Blender exporter has changed a bit since. Proceed with care! :)

  • The whole course is now available in video!


  • Assignment 00 - Radiometry - Deadline: 24.03.2015 23:59
  • Assignment 01 - Ray Tracing - Deadline: 14.04.2015 23:59.
  • Assignment 02 - Caustics - Deadline: 07.06.2015 23:59
  • Assignment 03 - Monte Carlo integration, smallpaint - Deadline: 22.06.2015 23:59
  • Assignment 04 - LuxRender scene competition - Deadline: 15.07.2015 23:59. Halfway report deadline: 03.07.2015 23:59

  • If you spot any errors anywhere on the slides or in the videos, please write to us!

    Course Galleries from 2015

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    Course Galleries from 2014

    CourseGallery CourseGallery

    Course Galleries from 2013

    CourseGallery CourseGallery

    Last update by Thomas Auzinger on 09.04.2014.
    Comments to thomas.auzinger (at) cg.tuwien.ac.at.
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