Journal article

A Comprehensive Framework for Rendering Layered Materials

We present a general and practical method for computing BSDFs of layered materials. Its ingredients are transport-theoretical models of isotropic or anisotropic scattering layers and smooth or rough boundaries of conductors and dielectrics. Following expansion into a directional basis that supports arbitrary composition, we are able to efficiently and accurately synthesize BSDFs for a great variety of layered structures. Reflectance models created by our system correctly account for multiple scattering within and between layers, and in the context of a rendering system they are efficient to evaluate and support texturing and exact importance sampling. Although our approach essentially involves tabulating reflectance functions in a Fourier basis, the generated models are compact to store due to the inherent sparsity of our representation, and are accurate even for narrowly peaked functions. While methods for rendering general layered surfaces have been investigated in the past, ours is the first system that supports arbitrary layer structures while remaining both efficient and accurate. We validate our model by comparing to measurements of real-world examples of layered materials, and we demonstrate an interactive visual design tool that enables easy exploration of the space of layered materials. We provide a fully practical, high-performance implementation in an open-source rendering system. Copyright © ACM.


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