Skip to main content
Log in

Real-time rendering of glossy materials with regular sampling

  • Original Article
  • Published:
The Visual Computer Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Rendering view-dependent, glossy surfaces to increase the realism in real-time applications is a computationally complex task, that can only be performed by applying some approximations—especially when immediate changes in the scene in terms of material settings and object placement are a necessity. The use of environment maps is a common approach to this problem, but implicates performance problems due to costly pre-filtering steps or expensive sampling. We, therefore, introduce a regular sampling scheme for environment maps that relies on an efficient MIP-map-based filtering step, and minimizes the number of necessary samples for creating a convincing real-time rendering of glossy BRDF materials.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Colbert, M., Krivánek, J.: GPU-based importance sampling. GPU Gems 3, 459 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Kurt, M., Szirmay-Kalos, L., Křivánek, J.: An anisotropic BRDF model for fitting and Monte Carlo rendering. SIGGRAPH Comput. Graph. 44(1), 3:1–3:15 (2010)

  3. Ramamoorthi, R., Hanrahan, P.: An efficient representation for irradiance environment maps. In: Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, pp. 497–500. ACM, New York (2001)

  4. Kautz, J., Sloan, P.P., Snyder, J.: Fast, arbitrary BRDF shading for low-frequency lighting using spherical harmonics. In: Proceedings of the 13th Eurographics Workshop on Rendering, pp. 291–296. EG, Saarbrücken (2002)

  5. Ramamoorthi, R., Hanrahan, P.: Frequency space environment map rendering. In: Proceedings of ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 21, pp. 517–526. ACM, New York, (2002)

  6. Sloan, P.P., Kautz, J., Snyder, J.: Precomputed radiance transfer for real-time rendering in dynamic, low-frequency lighting environments. In: Proceedings of ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 21, pp. 527–536. ACM, New York (2002)

  7. Ng, R., Ramamoorthi, R., Hanrahan, P.: Triple product wavelet integrals for all-frequency relighting. In: Proceedings of ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 23, pp. 477–487. ACM, New York (2004)

  8. Wang, R., Tran, J., Luebke, D.: All-frequency relighting of non-diffuse objects using separable BRDF approximation. In: Proceedings of EG Symposium on Rendering, pp. 345–354 (2004)

  9. Liu, X., Sloan, P.P., Shum, H.Y., Snyder, J.: All-frequency precomputed radiance transfer for glossy objects. In: Proceedings of Eurographics Symposium on Rendering, vol. 1. EG, Saarbrücken (2004)

  10. Tsai, Y.T., Shih, Z.C.: All-frequency precomputed radiance transfer using spherical radial basis functions and clustered tensor approximation. In: Proceedings of ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 25, pp. 967–976. ACM, New York (2006)

  11. Kautz, J., Vázquez, P.P., Heidrich, W., Seidel, H.P.: A unified approach to prefiltered environment maps. In: Proceedings of EG Workshop on Rendering, vol. 6. Springer, Berlin (2000)

  12. McAllister, D.K., Lastra, A., Heidrich, W.: Efficient rendering of spatial bi-directional reflectance distribution functions. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/EUROGRAPHICS Conference on Graphics Hardware, pp. 79–88. EG, Saarbrücken (2002)

  13. Ben-Artzi, A., Overbeck, R., Ramamoorthi, R.: Real-time BRDF editing in complex lighting. In: Proceedings of ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 25, pp. 945–954. ACM, New York (2006)

  14. Sun, X., Zhou, K., Chen, Y., Lin, S., Shi, J., Guo, B.: Interactive relighting with dynamic BRDFs. ACM Trans. Gr. (TOG) 26(3), 27 (2007)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Ritschel, T., Engelhardt, T., Grosch, T., Seidel, H.P., Kautz, J., Dachsbacher, C.: Micro-rendering for scalable, parallel final gathering. In: Proceedings of ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), vol. 28, p. 132. ACM, New York (2009)

  16. Scherzer, D., Nguyen, C.H., Ritschel, T., Seidel, H.P.: Pre-convolved radiance caching. In: Proceedings of Computer Graphics Forum, vol. 31, pp. 1391–1397. ACM, New York (2012)

  17. Diefenbach, P.J., Badlert, N.I.: Multi-pass pipeline rendering: realism for dynamic environments. In: Proceedings of Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics, pp. 59–70 (1997)

  18. Fuhrmann, A.L., Tobler, R.F., Maierhofer, S.: Real-time glossy reflections on planar surfaces. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Computer Graphics, Virtual Reality, Visualisation and Interaction in Africa, pp. 87–91. ACM, New York (2004)

  19. Robison, A., Shirley, P.: Image space gathering. In: HPG ’09 Proceedings of the Conference on High Performance Graphics 2009, pp. 91–98. ACM, New York (2009)

  20. Křivánek, J., Colbert, M.: Real-time shading with filtered importance sampling. In: Proceedings of Computer Graphics Forum, vol. 27, pp. 1147–1154. ACM, New York (2008)

  21. Cook, R.L., Torrance, K.E.: A reflectance model for computer graphics. ACM Trans. Gr. (TOG) 1(1), 7 (1982)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Torrance, K.E., Sparrow, E.M.: Theory for off-specular reflection from roughened surfaces. JOSA 57(9), 1105 (1967)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. He, X.D., Torrance, K.E., Sillion, F.X., Greenberg, D.P.: A comprehensive physical model for light reflection. In: ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics, vol. 25, pp. 175–186, ACM, New York (1991)

  24. Phong, B.T.: Illumination for computer generated pictures. Commun. ACM 18(6), 311 (1975)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Ward, G.J.: Measuring and modeling anisotropic reflection. In: Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics, vol. 26, pp. 265–272. ACM, New York (1992)

  26. Schlick, C.: An Inexpensive BRDF Model for Physically-Based Rendering in Computer Graphics Forum, vol. 13, pp. 233–246. ACM, New York (2003)

  27. Blinn, J.F., Newell, M.E.: Texture and reflection in computer generated images. Commun. ACM 19(10), 542 (1976)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Adelson, E.H.: Image data compression with the Laplacian pyramid. In: Proceedings of the Conference on Pattern Recognition and Image Processing, pp. 218–223. IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos (1981)

  29. Szirmay-Kalos, L.: Monte Carlo Methods in Global Illumination-Photo-Realistic Rendering with Randomization, VDM, Saarbrücken (2008)

  30. Walter, B.: Notes on the Ward BRDF. In: Proceedings of Technical Report PCG-05–06, Cornell Program of Computer Graphics (2005)

Download references


The competence center VRVis is funded by BMVIT, BMWFJ, and City of Vienna (ZIT) within the scope of COMET - Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies. The program COMET is managed by FFG.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Christian Luksch.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 128221 KB)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Luksch, C., Tobler, R.F., Mühlbacher, T. et al. Real-time rendering of glossy materials with regular sampling. Vis Comput 30, 717–727 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: