This book presents techniques to render photo-realistic images by programming the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). We discuss effects such as mirror reflections, refractions, caustics, diffuse or glossy indirect illumination, radiosity, single or multiple scattering in participating media, tone reproduction, glow, and depth of field. The book targets game developers, graphics programmers, and also students with some basic understanding of computer graphics algorithms, rendering APIs like Direct3D or OpenGL, and shader programming. In order to make the book self-contained, the most important concepts of local illumination and global illumination rendering, graphics hardware, and Direct3D/HLSL programming are reviewed in the first chapters. After these introductory chapters we warm up with simple methods including shadow and environment mapping, then we move on toward advanced concepts aiming at global illumination rendering. Since it would have been impossible to give a rigorous review of all approaches proposed in this field, we go into the details of just a few methods solving each particular global illumination effect. However, a short discussion of the state of the art and links to the bibliography are also provided to refer the interested reader to techniques that are not detailed in this book. The implementation of the selected methods is also presented in HLSL, and we discuss their observed performance, merits, and disadvantages. In the last chapter, we also review how these techniques can be integrated in an advanced game engine and present case studies of their exploitation in games. Having gone through this book, the reader will have an overview of the state of the art, will be able to apply and improve these techniques, and most importantly, will be capable of developing brand new GPU algorithms.
Table of Contents: Global Illumintation Rendering / Local Illumination Rendering Pipeline of GPUs / Programming and Controlling GPUs / Simple Improvements of the Local Illumination Model / Ray Casting on the GPU / Specular Effects with Rasterization / Diffuse and Glossy Indirect Illumination / Pre-computation Aided Global Illumination / Participating Media Rendering / Fake Global Illumination / Postprocessing Effects / Integrating GI Effects in Games and Virtual Reality Systems / Bibliography