Macro 64-regions for uniform grids on GPU


Uniform grids are a spatial subdivision acceleration structure well suited for ray tracing. They are known for their fast build times and ease of use, but suffer from slow traversals in the presence of empty space. To address this issue, we present macro 64-regions, a new GPU based approach for finding and storing empty volumes in an underlying uniform grid. This allows for fast traversals through regions that do not contain scene geometry. Further, unlike previous solutions to this problem, we do not store a hierarchical structure and therefore the traversal steps are simplified. Because macro 64-regions are dependent on an underlying grid, we also introduce an improvement in the grid construction process. Our method does not rely on sorting as previous methods do, but instead uses atomic operators to manage bookkeeping during the build. Using our proposed methods, we show a substantial improvement in build time, trace time, as well as an improvement in the consistency of rendering times for randomly generated views.

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    The standard deviation is scaled down by 50 % for the purpose of readability in Fig. 8.

    Fig. 8

    Primary ray casting time for uniform grid, micro 64-tree, and macro 64-regions accelerators for Conference Room scene. Margins around each line are 50 % of the standard deviation of 1,000 randomly generated views. Macro 64-regions exhibit the most consistent rendering times as grid density increases


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We acknowledge NSF (Award Number IIS-1064427) for providing partial funding for this research. We also wish to thank Anat Grynberg and Greg Ward for the Conference Room model, Frank Meinl and Marko Dabrovic for the Crytek Sponza model, and Marko Dabrovic, again, for the Sibenik Cathedral model.

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Correspondence to Eugene M. Taranta II.

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Taranta, E.M., Pattanaik, S.N. Macro 64-regions for uniform grids on GPU. Vis Comput 30, 615–624 (2014).

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  • Grid
  • Accelerator
  • Ray tracing
  • GPU