Hierarchical Photon Mapping

Hierarchical Photon MappingHierarchical Photon MappingPhoton mapping is an efficient method for producing high-quality photorealistic images with full global illumination. In this paper, we present a more accurate and efficient approach to final gathering using the photon map based upon the hierarchical evaluation of the photons over each surface. We use the footprint of each gather ray to calculate the irradiance estimate area rather than deriving it from the local photon density. We then describe an efficient method for computing the irradiance from the photon map given an arbitrary estimate area. Finally, we demonstrate how the technique may be used to reduce variance and increase efficiency when sampling diffuse and glossy-specular BRDFs.

Ben Spencer and Mark W. Jones.
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 15(1), 49-61, Jan/Feb 2009. [doi] [BibTeX]