Reflections, Refractions and Caustics in a Mixed-Reality Environment

Christoph Winklhofer
Reflections, Refractions and Caustics in a Mixed-Reality Environment
[Thesis]

Information

Abstract

In a mixed-reality environment virtual objects are merged into a real scene. Such an augmentation with virtual objects offers great possibilities to present content in new and innovative ways. The visual appearance of these virtual objects depends on a plausible lighting simulation. Otherwise, virtual objects look artificial and out of place, which destroys the overall impression of the perceived scene.

Reflective and refractive objects are an inherent part of our physical environment. Accordingly, virtual objects of this type also enhance the overall impression and scope of a mixed-reality application. Many mixed-reality systems still neglect them: Such objects require a complex light simulation that is hard to embed in a mixed-reality system, which demands real-time frame rates to handle the user interaction.

This thesis describes the integration of reflective and refractive objects in a mixed-reality environment. The aim is to create a realistic light distribution that simulates reflections and refractions between real and virtual objects. Another important aspect for a believable perception are caustics, light focusing due to the scattering from reflective or refractive objects. Until recently, this effect was simply excluded in the lighting simulation of mixed-reality systems.

The proposed rendering method extends differential instant radiosity with three other image space rendering techniques capable to handle reflections, refractions and caustics in real time. By combining these techniques, our method successfully simulates the various lighting effects from reflective and refractive objects and is able to handle user interactions at interactive to realtime frame rates. This offers a practicable possibility to greatly improve the visual quality of a mixed-reality environment.

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Poster: Poster of Master Thesis Poster: Poster of Master Thesis
Thesis: Master Thesis Thesis: Master Thesis

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BibTeX

@mastersthesis{winklhofer_christoph-2013-RRMR,
  title =      "Reflections, Refractions and Caustics in a Mixed-Reality
               Environment",
  author =     "Christoph Winklhofer",
  year =       "2013",
  abstract =   "In a mixed-reality environment virtual objects are merged
               into a real scene. Such an augmentation with virtual objects
               offers great possibilities to present content in new and
               innovative ways. The visual appearance of these virtual
               objects depends on a plausible lighting simulation.
               Otherwise, virtual objects look artificial and out of place,
               which destroys the overall impression of the perceived
               scene.  Reflective and refractive objects are an inherent
               part of our physical environment. Accordingly, virtual
               objects of this type also enhance the overall impression and
               scope of a mixed-reality application. Many mixed-reality
               systems still neglect them: Such objects require a complex
               light simulation that is hard to embed in a mixed-reality
               system, which demands real-time frame rates to handle the
               user interaction.  This thesis describes the integration of
               reflective and refractive objects in a mixed-reality
               environment. The aim is to create a realistic light
               distribution that simulates reflections and refractions
               between real and virtual objects. Another important aspect
               for a believable perception are caustics, light focusing due
               to the scattering from reflective or refractive objects.
               Until recently, this effect was simply excluded in the
               lighting simulation of mixed-reality systems.  The proposed
               rendering method extends differential instant radiosity with
               three other image space rendering techniques capable to
               handle reflections, refractions and caustics in real time.
               By combining these techniques, our method successfully
               simulates the various lighting effects from reflective and
               refractive objects and is able to handle user interactions
               at interactive to realtime frame rates. This offers a
               practicable possibility to greatly improve the visual
               quality of a mixed-reality environment.",
  address =    "Favoritenstrasse 9-11/186, A-1040 Vienna, Austria",
  school =     "Institute of Computer Graphics and Algorithms, Vienna
               University of Technology",
  keywords =   "Caustics, Reflections, Mixed Reality, Refractions",
  URL =        "https://www.cg.tuwien.ac.at/research/publications/2013/winklhofer_christoph-2013-RRMR/",
}