Foveated Real-Time Ray Tracing for Head-Mounted Displays

Martin Weier, Thorsten Roth, Ernst Krujiff, André Hinkenjann, Arsène Pérard-Gayot, Philipp Slusallek, Yongmin Li


Head-mounted displays with dense pixel arrays used for virtual reality applications require high frame rates and low latency rendering. This forms a challenging use case for any rendering approach. In addition to its ability of generating realistic images, ray tracing offers a number of distinct advantages, but has been held back mainly by its performance. In this paper, we present an approach that significantly improves image generation performance of ray tracing. This is done by combining foveated rendering based on eye tracking with reprojection rendering using previous frames in order to drastically reduce the number of new image samples per frame. To reproject samples a coarse geometry is reconstructed from a G-Buffer. Possible errors introduced by this reprojection as well as parts that are critical to the perception are scheduled for resampling. Additionally, a coarse color buffer is used to provide an initial image, refined smoothly by more samples were needed. Evaluations and user tests show that our method achieves real-time frame rates, while visual differences compared to fully rendered images are hardly perceivable. As a result, we can ray trace non-trivial static scenes for the Oculus DK2 HMD at 1182 * 1464 per eye within the the VSync limits without perceived visual differences.

Pacific Graphics 2016