GPU algorithms for radiosity and subsurface scattering

Nathan A. Carr, Jesse D. Hall, John C. Hart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We capitalize on recent advances in modern programmable graphics hardware, originally designed to support advanced local illumination models for shading, to instead perform two different kinds of global illumination models for light transport. We first use the new floating-point texture map formats to find matrix radiosity solutions for light transport in a diffuse environment, and use this example to investigate the differences between GPU and CPU performance on matrix operations. We then examine multiple-scattering subsurface light transport, which can be modeled to resemble a single radiosity gathering step. We use a multiresolution meshed atlas to organize a hierarchy of precomputed subsurface links, and devise a three-pass GPU algorithm to render in real time the subsurface-scattered illumination of an object, with dynamic lighting and viewing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGH '03 - Graphics Hardware 2003
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003
EventGraphics Hardware 2003, GT '03 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jul 26 2003Jul 27 2003

Publication series

NameProceedings of the SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Workshop on Graphics Hardware


OtherGraphics Hardware 2003, GT '03
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications

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    Carr, N. A., Hall, J. D., & Hart, J. C. (2003). GPU algorithms for radiosity and subsurface scattering. In GH '03 - Graphics Hardware 2003 (pp. 51-59). (Proceedings of the SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Workshop on Graphics Hardware).