Interactive Headlight Simulation - A Case Study for Interactive Distributed Ray Tracing -

Carsten Benthin, Tim Dahmen, Ingo Wald and Philipp Slusallek
Proceedings of EUROGRAPHICS Workshop on Parallel Graphics and Visualization, Blaubeuren, Germany, September 2002

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Todays rasterization graphics hardware provides impressive speed and features making it the standard tool for interactively visualising virtual prototypes early in the industrial design process. However, due to inherent limitations of the rasterization approach many optical effects can only be approximated. For many products, in particular in the car industry, the resulting visual quality and realism is inadequate as the basis for critical design decisions. Thus the original goal of using virtual prototyping —significantly reducing the number of costly physical mockups — often cannot be achieved. Interactive ray tracing on a small cluster of PCs is emerging as an alternative visualization technique achieving the required accuracy, quality, and realism. In a case study this paper demonstrates the advantages of using interactive ray tracing for a typical design situation in the car industry: visualizing the prototype of headlights. Due to the highly reflective and refractive nature of headlights, proper quality could only be achieved using a fast interactive ray tracing system.