This paper presents a novel approach to detecting and preserving fine illumination structure within photon maps. Data derived from each photon’s primal trajectory is encoded and used to build a high-dimensional kd-tree. Incorporation of these new parameters allows for precise differentiation between intersecting ray envelopes, thus minimizing detail degradation when combined with photon relaxation. We demonstrate how parameter-aware querying is beneficial in both detecting and removing noise. We also propose a more robust structure descriptor based on principal components analysis that better identifies anisotropic detail at the sub-kernel level.We illustrate the effectiveness of our approach in several example scenes and show significant improvements when rendering complex caustics compared to previous methods.
Ben Spencer and Mark W. Jones
Computer Graphics Forum, Volume 32, Issue 2pt1, pages 83–92, May 2013. [doi]
Best paper, Eurographics 2013.
Stream compaction is an important parallel computing primitive that produces a reduced (compacted) output stream consisting of only valid elements from an input stream containing both invalid and valid elements. Computing on this compacted stream rather than the mixed input stream leads to improvements in performance, load balancing, and memory footprint. Stream compaction has numerous applications in a wide range of domains: e.g., deferred shading, isosurface extraction, and surface voxelization in computer graphics and visualization. We present a novel In-Kernel stream compaction method, where compaction is completed before leaving an operating kernel. This contrasts with conventional parallel compaction methods that require leaving the kernel and running a prefix sum kernel followed by a scatter kernel. We apply our compaction methods to ray-tracing-based visualization of volumetric data. We demonstrate that the proposed In-Kernel Compaction outperforms the standard out-of-kernel Thrust parallel-scan method for performing stream compaction in this real-world application. For the data visualization, we also propose a novel multi-kernel ray-tracing pipeline for increased thread coherency and show that it outperforms a conventional single-kernel approach.
D. M. Hughes, I. S. Lim, M. W. Jones, A. Knoll and B. Spencer
Computer Graphics Forum, 2013, 32(6), 178-188. [doi]
Today real-time sports performance analysis is a crucial aspect of matches in many major sports. For example, in soccer and rugby, team analysts may annotate videos during the matches by tagging specific actions and events, which typically result in some summary statistics and a large spreadsheet of recorded actions and events. To a coach, the summary statistics (e.g., the percentage of ball possession) lacks sufficient details, while reading the spreadsheet is time-consuming and making decisions based on the spreadsheet in real-time is thereby impossible. In this paper, we present a visualization solution to the current problem in real-time sports performance analysis. We adopt a glyph-based visual design to enable coaching staff and analysts to visualize actions and events “at a glance”. We discuss the relative merits of metaphoric glyphs in comparison with other types of glyph designs in this particular application. We describe an algorithm for managing the glyph layout at different spatial scales in interactive visualization. We demonstrate the use of this technical approach through its application in rugby, for which we delivered the visualization software, MatchPad, on a tablet computer. The MatchPad was used by the Welsh Rugby Union during the Rugby World Cup 2011. It successfully helped coaching staff and team analysts to examine actions and events in detail whilst maintaining a clear overview of the match, and assisted in their decision making during the matches. It also allows coaches to convey crucial information back to the players in a visually-engaging manner to help improve their performance.
Phil A. Legg, David H. S. Chung, Matthew L. Parry, Mark W. Jones, Rhys Long, Iwan W. Griffiths and Min Chen.
Eurovis 2012, Computer Graphics Forum 31(3), 1255-1264, 2012. [doi] [BibTeX]
This work is concerned with a design study by an interdisciplinary team on visualizing a 10-year record of seasonal and inter-annual changes in frontal position (advance/retreat) of nearly 200 marine terminating glaciers in Greenland. Whilst the spatiotemporal nature of the raw data presents a challenge to develop a compact and intuitive visual design, the focus on coastal boundaries provides an opportunity for dimensional reduction. In this paper, we report the user-centered design process carried out by the team, and present several visual encoding schemes that have met the requirements including compactness, intuitiveness, and ability to depict temporal changes and spatial relations. In particular, we designed a family of radial visualization, where radial lines correspond to different coastal locations, and nested rings represent the evolution of the temporal dimension from inner to outer circles. We developed an algorithm for mapping glacier terminus positions from Cartesian coordinates to angular coordinates. Instead of a naive uniform mapping, the algorithm maintains consistent spatial perception of the visually-sensitive geographical references between their Cartesian and angular coordinates, and distributes other termini positions between primary locations based on coastal distance. This work has provided a useful solution to address the problem of inaccuracy in change evaluation based on pixel-based visualization [BPC10].
Y. Drocourt, R. Borgo, K. Scharrer, T. Murray, S.I. Bevan, M. Chen.
Computer Graphics Forum Intl. Journal, volume 30, number 3, year 2011, pp. 981-990, presented also at EuroVis Conference 2011, May 31-June 3, Bergen, Norway.
The photon mapping method is one of the most popular algorithms employed in computer graphics today. However, obtaining good results is dependent on several variables including kernel shape and bandwidth, as well as the properties of the initial photon distribution. While the photon density estimation problem has been the target of extensive research, most algorithms focus on new methods of optimising the kernel to minimise noise and bias. In this paper we break from convention and propose a new approach that directly redistributes the underlying photons. We show that by relaxing the initial distribution into one with a blue noise spectral signature we can dramatically reduce background noise, particularly in areas of uniform illumination. In addition, we propose an efficient heuristic to detect and preserve features and discontinuities. We then go on to demonstrate how reconfiguration also permits the use of very low bandwidth kernels, greatly improving render times whilst reducing bias.
Ben Spencer and Mark W. Jones.
Eurographics 2009, Computer Graphics Forum 28(2) 319-328, 2009. [doi] [BibTeX]