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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Soft Shadow Mip-Maps
by Shen, Yang, M.S., The University of Utah, 2016, 60; 10158459
Abstract (Summary)

This document introduces the Soft Shadow Mip-Maps technique, which consists of three methods for overcoming the fundamental limitations of filtering-oriented soft shadows. Filtering-oriented soft shadowing techniques filter shadow maps with varying filter sizes determined by desired penumbra widths. Different varieties of this approach have been commonly applied in interactive and real-time applications. Nonetheless, they share some fundamental limitations. First, soft shadow filter size is not always guaranteed to be the correct size for producing the right penumbra width based on the light source size. Second, filtering with large kernels for soft shadows requires a large number of samples, thereby increasing the cost of filtering. Stochastic approximations for filtering introduce noise and prefiltering leads to inaccuracies. Finally, calculating shadows based on a single blocker estimation can produce significantly inaccurate penumbra widths when the shadow penumbras of different blockers overlap.

We discuss three methods to overcome these limitations. First, we introduce a method for computing the soft shadow filter size for a receiver with a blocker distance. Then, we present a filtering scheme based on shadow mip-maps. Mipmap-based filtering uses shadow mip-maps to efficiently generate soft shadows using a constant size filter kernel for each layer, and linear interpolation between layers. Finally, we introduce an improved blocker estimation approach. With the improved blocker estimating, we explore the shadow contribution of every blocker by calculating the light occluded by potential blockers. Hence, the calculated penumbra areas correspond to the blockers correctly. Finally, we discuss how to select filter kernels for filtering.

These approaches successively solve issues regarding shadow penumbra width calculation apparent in prior techniques. Our result shows that we can produce correct penumbra widths, as evident in our comparisons to ray-traced soft shadows. Nonetheless, the Soft Shadow Mip-Maps technique suffers from light bleeding issues. This is because our method only calculates shadows using the geometry that is available in the shadow depth map. Therefore, the occluded geometry is not taken into consideration, which leads to light bleeding. Another limitation of our method is that using lower resolution shadow mip-map layers limits the resolution of the shadow placement. As a result, when a blocker moves slowly, its shadow follows it with discrete steps, the size of which is determined by the corresponding mip-map layer resolution.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yuksel, Cem
Commitee: Brunvand, Erik L., Hansen, Charles D.
School: The University of Utah
Department: School of Computing
School Location: United States -- Utah
Source: MAI 55/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Computer science
Keywords: Mip-Maps, Real-time, Shadow algorithms, Shadow mapping, Soft shadows
Publication Number: 10158459
ISBN: 978-1-369-13467-4
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