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Published on December 29, 2016 by Microsoft Research
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We present radiance regression functions for fast rendering of global illumination in scenes with dynamic local light sources. A radiance regression function (RRF) represents a non-linear mapping from local and contextual attributes of surface points, such as position, viewing direction, and lighting condition, to their indirect illumination values. The RRF is obtained from precomputed shading samples through regression analysis, which determines a function that best fits the shading data. For a given scene, the shading samples are precomputed by an offline renderer.

The key idea behind our approach is to exploit the nonlinear coherence of the indirect illumination data to make the RRF both compact and fast to evaluate. We model the RRF as a multilayer acyclic feed-forward neural network, which provides a close functional approximation of the indirect illumination and can be efficiently evaluated at run time. To effectively model scenes with spatially variant material properties, we utilize an augmented set of attributes as input to the neural network RRF to reduce the amount of inference that the network needs to perform. To handle scenes with greater geometric complexity, we partition the input space of the RRF model and represent the subspaces with separate, smaller RRFs that can be evaluated more rapidly. As a result, the RRF model scales well to increasingly complex scene geometry and material variation. Because of its compactness and ease of evaluation, the RRF model enables real-time rendering with full global illumination effects, including changing caustics and multiple-bounce high-frequency glossy interreflections.

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