Real-Time Spherical Harmonics Based Subsurface Scattering

  • Anna Tomaszewska
  • Krzysztof Stefanowski
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7324)


In this paper we present an algorithm for a subsurface scattering simulation (SHSS) based on spherical harmonics. The approach has a physical basis. As we focus on specifying an algorithm suitable for commercial games, it contains simplifications designed for real-time calculations. Spherical harmonics (SH) functions were used to encode the thickness of an object in every possible direction for each vertex of a graphical model. The information about the thickness of an object is the basis for a simulation of light absorption. The starting point of our approach was the Green method [3], where the thickness is calculated by a shadow casting algorithm. In our technique the model volume is encoded by spherical harmonics similarly to the Precomputed Radiance Transfer where the SH are used to encode the values of a transfer function. The quality of our approach is presented in comparison with the other algorithms.


subsurface scattering subjective metrics 3D models computer graphics 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Tomaszewska
    • 1
  • Krzysztof Stefanowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Computer ScienceWest Pomeranian University of Technology in SzczecinSzczecinPoland

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