Attila T. Áfra's blog about pixels, voxels and threads

Archive for the ‘VoxLOD’ Category

Massive model ray tracing using an SSD

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SSDs are simply amazing. They can make a huge difference in certain cases. One of these is massive model rendering.

VoxLOD, my out-of-core ray tracer, streams data from an SSD more than 8x faster than from two 7200 RPM HDDs in RAID! It runs pretty well with the HDDs too, but you can easily see some streaming artifacts if you move too fast (see the original video for the paper). With the SSD the streaming is almost completely seamless.

Here’s a video which was recorded real-time at 720p on a freshly booted (so nothing was precached) Intel Core i7-3770 system with an SSD. The model is the Boeing 777, which contains more than 300 million triangles and occupies about 30 GB of space on the SSD. You only need about 4-6 GB RAM. This is an updated version of the renderer which now uses the AVX instruction set.


Written by Attila Áfra

August 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Interactive Ray Tracing of Large Models Using Voxel Hierarchies

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Interactive Ray Tracing of Large Models Using Voxel Hierarchies
Attila T. Áfra
Computer Graphics Forum 31(1)
Presented at Eurographics 2013

We propose an efficient approach for interactive visualization of massive models with CPU ray tracing. A voxel-based hierarchical level-of-detail (LOD) framework is employed to minimize rendering time and required system memory. In a preprocessing phase, a compressed out-of-core data structure is constructed, which contains the original primitives of the model and the LOD voxels, organized into a kd-tree. During rendering, data is loaded asynchronously to ensure a smooth inspection of the model regardless of the available I/O bandwidth. With our technique, we are able to explore data sets consisting of hundreds of millions of triangles in real-time on a desktop PC with a quad-core CPU.

Paper (personal copy, high-res): PDF
Paper (definitive version): Wiley, Eurographics
EG2013 slides (with new videos): PPTX
Video (real-time): MP4, YouTube
Citation: BibTeX
Project page

The Boeing 777 data set was provided by and used with permission of The Boeing Company.

Written by Attila Áfra

January 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm

VoxLOD global illumination video (pre-rendered)

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Work in progress. Runs at about 0.5-1 fps at 1280×720 on my Intel Core i7-620m and NVIDIA NVS 5100M.

Written by Attila Áfra

September 5, 2010 at 1:31 am

Posted in GI, Graphics, Ray Tracing, VoxLOD

Shadows and global illumination

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I’ve been quite busy in the past few months writing my Master’s dissertation (which is about my real-time massive model visualization method), so I didn’t have time to update my blog.

First of all, I’ve implemented shadows in VoxLOD, which has thus become a ray tracer. Of course, level-of-detail is applied to the shadow rays too. For example, this is how the ray traced 354 million triangle Mandelbulb model looks like:

Currently, only point light sources are supported, which cast hard shadows. In the future, I would like to implement area lights too. It’s not easy to render soft shadows with ray tracing at high quality and speed, so I will have to do some research on this.

While shadows make the rendered image a lot more realistic, the parts in shadow are completely flat, devoid of any details, thanks to the constant ambient light. One possible solution is ambient occlusion, but I wanted to go further: global illumination in real-time.

GI in VoxLOD is very experimental and unoptimized for now. It’s barely interactive: it runs at only 1-2 fps at 640×480 on my dual-core Core i7 notebook. Fortunately, there are lots of optimization opportunities. Now let’s see an example image:

Note that most of the scene is not directly lit, and color bleeding caused by indirect lighting is clearly visible. There are two light sources: a point light (the Sun) and a hemispherical one (the sky). I use Monte Carlo integration to compute the GI with one bounce of indirect lighting. Nothing is precomputed (except the massive model data structure of course).

I trace only two GI rays per pixel, and therefore, the resulting image must be heavily filtered in order to eliminate the extreme noise. While all the ray tracing is done on the CPU, the noise filter runs on the GPU and is implemented in CUDA. Since diffuse indirect lighting is quite low frequency, it is adequate to use low LODs for the GI rays.

Here are some more screenshots:

Written by Attila Áfra

July 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Mandelbulb walkthrough with VoxLOD

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354 million triangles
Recorded in real-time on a Core 2 Duo T5500

Since I couldn’t find any publicly available, truly huge data sets, I’ve written a simple triangle model generator, which extracts an isosurface of a procedural scalar field. I’ve used this program to generate the detailed Mandelbulb fractal model shown in the video. So far, this is the most complex data set I’ve tested VoxLOD with. Unfortunately, it’s too artificial. I would be really grateful if somebody could provide me with a real-world massive model!

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March 1, 2010 at 11:34 pm

XYZ RGB Dragon walkthrough with VoxLOD

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7 million triangles
Recorded in real-time on a Core 2 Quad Q9300

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March 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Power Plant walkthrough with VoxLOD

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12 million triangles
Recorded in real-time on a Core 2 Quad Q9300

Written by Attila Áfra

March 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm