Real-time volume rendering in dynamic lighting environments using precomputed photon mapping

Yubo Zhang, Zhao Dong, Kwan-Liu Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We present a framework for precomputed volume radiance transfer that achieves real-time rendering of global illumination effects for volume data sets such as multiple scattering, volumetric shadows, and so on. Our approach incorporates the volumetric photon mapping method into the classical precomputed radiance transfer pipeline. We contribute several techniques for light approximation, radiance transfer precomputation, and real-time radiance estimation, which are essential to make the approach practical and to achieve high frame rates. For light approximation, we propose a new discrete spherical function that has better performance for construction and evaluation when compared with existing rotational invariant spherical functions such as spherical harmonics and spherical radial basis functions. In addition, we present a fast splatting-based radiance transfer precomputation method and an early evaluation technique for real-time radiance estimation in the clustered principal component analysis space. Our techniques are validated through comprehensive evaluations and rendering tests. We also apply our rendering approach to volume visualization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6461883
Pages (from-to)1317-1330
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 26 2013


  • multiple scattering
  • precomputed radiance transfer
  • volume ray casting
  • Volume rendering
  • volume shadow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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