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xRobert Richmond

Light Field Mapping

September 2001

Page Six

Page One: Applications of Light Field Mapping
Synthetic Imaging
Real-World Imaging
Technical Analysis
Page Four: Triangle Centered Approximation
Triangle-Centered Light Field Mapping
Analysis of Triangle-Centered Approximation
Page Two: Data Acquisition
Resampling and Normalization
Page Five: Vertex-Centered Approximation
Vertex-Centered Light Field Mapping
Analysis of Vertex-Centered Approximation
Page Three: Surface Light Field Approximation Page Six: Hardware Acceleration
Light Field Map Compression
Final Thoughts

Hardware Acceleration

Hardware support requires both multitexturing and register combine functions for optimum efficiency.  Multitexturing requires approximately one rendering pass per triangle-centered term, while vector-centered terms require three passes at minimum.  Register combiners found with current high-end video chipsets like nVidia's GeForce-3 extends hardware acceleration for color range and texture modulation support.  Most other operations can be executed through either programmable video card transform and lighting routines or custom software through the primary system processor.

Light Field Map Compression

Since light field maps are essentially texture data with many redundant patterns, common texture compression formats can be introduced to limit memory requirements to manageable levels for real-time rendering.  A combination of S3 texture compression and vector quantization offers four levels of data compression when combined with the earlier described decomposition through approximation and truncation techniques.

The above chart represents the compression characteristics of a few of the scene models employed for this article.  The results are quite impressive as each scene is reduced from multiple gigabytes of raw data to just a few kilobytes of stored information.  Considering the small size of each light map, it can be assumed that multiple light maps could be generated for multiple objects while retaining real-time frame rate performance with even current generation hardware.

Final Thoughts

Intel has been a long-time developer of three dimensional computer rendering technologies, even though most agree this company's actual integrated 3D hardware products are generally considered to be sub-par at best.  Regardless, Intel appears to be on track with a viable solution for increasing visuals while retaining sustainable performance for real-time response. 

Preview Clip

And to conclude, a low-resolution preview clip of a software model using Light Field Mapping is available for viewing
here.  (Right click to save, video encoded with DivX 4.01)

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