Lighting Networks - A New Approach for Designing Lighting Algorithms


In the past, new global illumination algorithms have usually
been designed as a single module that was responsible
for the simulation of all aspects of illumination in
a scene. A recently developed alternative is the design
of small and specialized algorithms (lighting operators)
together with an infrastructure for creating more complex
algorithms by connecting these building blocks –
the Lighting Network.
In this paper, we discuss the benefits of the Lighting
Network approach for designing new and improved
global illumination algorithms. Lighting Networks not
only provide a flexible infrastructure for new algorithms,
they also support a better theoretic understanding of the
lighting simulation process. We show that a small number
of global light propagation operators already provides
the basis for creating many of todays illumination
algorithms. Their illumination results are converted into
more suitable representations by purely local conversion
operators that are specific to an illumination algorithm.
Varying the composition of these operators and introducing
new elements allows us to create and explore the benefits
of new simulation algorithms.
We demonstrate the potential of Lighting Networks
with several examples, implementing a diverse set of algorithms,
such as density estimation, irradiance gradients,
and a composite lighting simulation.