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The utilization of the Green's tensor associated with a complex optical background (surface, cavity or stratified medium) leads to a dramatic reduction of the computation effort associated with scattering calculations in that background. This approach is illustrated with examples where a mere change of the background Green's tenser makes possible the investigation of completely different physical situations. Two different discretization approaches are compared and similarities between the Green's tensor technique and the Method of Lines are emphasized; in the latter, the utilization of analytic solutions in one specific direction also reduces the discretization of the system.