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Screen space indirect lighting with visibility bitmask

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Horizon-based indirect illumination efficiently estimates a diffuse light bounce in screen space by analytically integrating the horizon angle difference between samples along a given direction. Like other horizon-based methods, this technique cannot properly simulate light passing behind thin surfaces. We propose the concept of a visibility bitmask that replaces the two horizon angles by a bit field representing the binary state (occluded/un-occluded) of N sectors uniformly distributed around the hemisphere slice. It allows light to pass behind surfaces of constant thickness while keeping the efficiency of horizon-based methods. It can also do more accurate ambient lighting than bent normal by sampling more than one visibility cone. This technique improves the visual quality of ambient occlusion, indirect diffuse, and ambient light compared to previous screen space methods while minimizing noise and keeping a low performance overhead.

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Special thanks to Deepti Joshi (CDRIN) and Peter Shirley (NVIDIA) for their guidance in the redaction of this paper. We also want to thank our other colleagues namely Antoine Fortin (CDRIN), Olivier Leclerc (CDRIN), Steven Pigeon (UQAR), and Vahe Vardanyan (CDRIN) who have actively supported the current body of work. Most of the models are from the Amazon Lumberyard Bistro scene. This research is financed in part by the province of Quebec (Canada) via the grant “Programme d’aide à la recherche et au transfert (PART).” Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.

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Correspondence to Guillaume Gilet.

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Therrien, O., Levesque, Y. & Gilet, G. Screen space indirect lighting with visibility bitmask. Vis Comput 39, 5925–5936 (2023).

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