Phenomenological Transparency

Translucent objects such as fog, clouds, smoke, glass, ice, and liquids are pervasive in cinematic environments because they frame scenes in depth and create visually-compelling shots. Unfortunately, they are hard to render in real-time and have thus previously been rendered poorly compared to opaque surfaces.

This paper describes a model for a real-time rasterization algorithm that can simultaneously approximate the following transparency phenomena: wavelength-varying ("colored") transmission, translucent colored shadows, caustics, volumetric light and shadowing, partial coverage, diffusion, and refraction. All render efficiently with order-independent draw calls and low bandwidth. We include source code.


Morgan McGuire (NVIDIA)
Michael Mara (NVIDIA)

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