A Free-Space Diffraction BSDF

Free-space diffractions are an optical phenomenon where light appears to “bend” around the geometric edges and corners of scene objects. In this paper we present an efficient method to simulate such effects. We derive an edge-based formulation of Fraunhofer diffraction, which is well suited to the common (triangular) geometric meshes used in computer graphics. Our method dynamically constructs a free-space diffraction BSDF by considering the geometry around the intersection point of a ray of light with an object, and we present an importance sampling strategy for these BSDFs. Our method is unique in requiring only ray tracing to produce free-space diffractions, works with general meshes, requires no geometry preprocessing, and is designed to work with path tracers with a linear rendering equation. We show that we are able to reproduce accurate diffraction lobes, and, in contrast to any existing method, are able to handle complex, real-world geometry. This work serves to connect free-space diffractions to the efficient path tracing tools from computer graphics.


Shlomi Steinberg (University of Waterloo)
Arshiya Mollazainali (University of Waterloo)
Eugene D'eon (NVIDIA)
Matt Pharr (NVIDIA)

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