Presampled Visibility for Ambient Occlusion

Gaitatzes,A., Chrysanthou,Y., Papaioannou,G.

We present a novel method to accelerate the computation of the visibility function of the lighting equation, in dynamic scenes composed of rigid, non-penetrating objects. The main idea of the technique is to pre-compute for each object in the scene its associated four-dimensional field that describes the visibility in each direction for all positional samples on a sphere around the object, we call this a displacement field. We are able to speed up the calculation of algorithms that trace visibility rays to near real time frame rates. The storage requirements of the technique, amounts from one byte to one bit per ray direction making it particularly attractive to scenes with multiple instances of the same object, as the same cached data can be reused, regardless of the geometric transformation applied to each instance. We suggest an acceleration technique and identify the sampling method that gives the best results based on experimentation.