sihand – LookingOutwards 05 – Glinting Algorithm

Glinting Algorithm

Researchers used their method to model the glittery shell of this snail.
Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego

If you like the glittery metal texture as much as I do, you would understand the struggle of recreating the shimmering surface in drawings. A couple of current commercial software are able to recreate the details, but only in stills. However, the game has changed recently. A team of researchers led by UC San Diego professor Ravi Ramamoorthi developed an algorithm that significantly improves how computer software reproduces the glints, which is how light interacts with the smallest details on a metal surface.

The current method, which models details at the pixel level, is sufficient for most production but cannot represent the real world scenario. Professor Ramamoorthi’s team, on the other hand, broke down each pixel into “thousands of light-reflecting points smaller than a pixel, called microfacets”, so the results will be more grainy and noisy, and more realistic (Science Daily). Their solution also features a “position-normal distribution” that approximates the distribution of light at each location. This method is tremendously more efficient than the traditional method, where the light on each microfacet is calculated.

With their new algorithm, rendering will become almost instant. Their work is a manifest of how improvement in technology pushes artistic potential.

Iron Man’s armor

Read the original article at Science Daily

Leave a Reply