VRML Scene Graphs on an Interactive Ray Tracing Engine

Andreas Dietrich, Ingo Wald, Markus Wagner and Philipp Slusallek
Proceedings of IEEE VR 2004,
Chicago, USA, March 27-31, 2004
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With the recent advances in ray tracing technology, high-quality image generation at interactive rates has finally become a reality. As a consequence ray tracing will likely play a larger role in visualization systems, enabling the conception and creation of completely new interactive graphics applications.

In this paper we describe the design and development of a ray tracing-based VRML browser and editor as a case study of such an application. It exploits all advantages of ray tracing, including physically-correct plug and play shading and support for large models.

In particular we demonstrate how to overcome the limitations that result from existing scene graph libraries and data exchange formats still being targeted towards rasterization technology. Also we show how to extend the VRML lighting model and to optimize scene graph handling for ray tracing.