Real-time Hardware Accelerated Rendering of Forests at Human Scale

Gabor Szijárto, Jozsef Koloszar
Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Department of Control Engineering and Information Technology
Magyar Tudósok Krt. 2
H-1117, Budapest, Hungary




One of the major challenges in developing techniques for realistic and high performance visualization of outdoor environments is rendering of vegetation. The issue of rendering dense foliage or forests is especially pressing in simulators and other virtual reality based game applications, such as first person shooters. The greatest problem is that convincing modeling of trees, bushes and undergrowth would require great numbers of polygons beyond what graphics hardware can cope with today or in the next few years to come. This paper presents recent extensions and improvements to the authors’ previous work on foliage rendering. It reviews some of the landmark techniques used in real-time PC applications, including the authors’ novel solution of using 2.5 dimensional impostors for tree rendering, followed by the in-depth discussion of extending the later algorithm to rendering dense forest for human-scale simulation. The method presented takes full advantage of the programmable rendering pipelines available on most of the recent video cards. Numeric results and pictures are presented to illustrate rendering efficiency and visual quality.