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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Resolution Matched Shadow Maps


This paper presents resolution-matched shadow maps (RMSM), a modified adaptive shadow map (ASM) algorithm, that is practical for interactive rendering of dynamic scenes. Adaptive shadow maps, which build a quadtree of shadow samples to match the projected resolution of each shadow texel in eye space, offer a robust solution to projective and perspective aliasing in shadow maps. However, their use for interactive dynamic scenes is plagued by an expensive iterative edge-finding algorithm that takes a highly variable amount of time per frame and is not guaranteed to converge to a correct solution. This paper introduces a simplified algorithm that is up to ten times faster than ASMs, has more predictable performance, and delivers more accurate shadows. Our main contribution is the observation that it is more efficient to forgo the iterative refinement analysis in favor of generating all shadow texels requested by the pixels in the eye-space image. The practicality of this approach is based on the insight that, for surfaces continuously visible from the eye, adjacent eye-space pixels map to adjacent shadow texels in quadtree shadow space. This means that the number of contiguous regions of shadow texels (which can be efficiently generated with a rasterizer) is proportional to the number of continuously visible surfaces in the scene. Moreover, these regions can be coalesced to further reduce the number of render passes required to shadow an image. The secondary contribution of this paper is demonstrating the design and use of data-parallel algorithms inseparably mixed with traditional graphics programming to implement a novel interactive rendering algorithm. For the scenes described in this paper, we achieve 60--80 frames per second on static scenes and 20--60 frames per second on dynamic scenes for 512 x 512 and 1024 x 1024 images with a maximum effective shadow resolution of 32,768 x 32,768 texels.

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