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Ray Tracing The Rest of Your Life by Peter Shirley

By Peter Shirley

Within the prior ray tracing mini-books, the reader was once led via creating a simple ray tracer, and no pictures history was once assumed. This quantity extends from the 1st yet makes use of terminology and math that may aid access into the pro global of real looking rendering.

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Now you can explore a lot of different potential paths. Your probability space won’t be over solid angle but will instead be over path space, where a path is a multidimensional point in a high-dimensional space. Once you get a clean abstraction like that, your code can get clean too. Clean abstractions are what programming is all about! They are surprisingly open about their craft. If you want to do high-performance ray tracing, look first at papers from Intel and NVIDIA. Again, they are surprisingly open.

The pdf construction is hard coded in the color() function and we should clean that up. Probably we should pass something into color about the lights. Unlike bvh construction, we should be careful about memory leaks as there are an unbounded number of samples. The specular rays (glass and metal) are no longer supported. The math would work out if we just made their scattering function a delta function. But that would be floating point disaster. We could either separate out specular reflections, or have surface roughness never be zero and have almost-mirrors that look perfectly smooth but don’t generate NaNs.

We need to evaluate both pdf_reflection and pdf_light because there are some directions where either pdf could have generated the direction. For example, we might generate a direction toward the light using pdf_reflection. If we step back a bit, we see that there are two functions a pdf needs to support: 1. What is your value at this location? 2. Return a random number that is distributed appropriately. It’s never obvious what goes in an abstract class, so my approach is to be greedy and hope a minimal interface works, and for the pdf this implies: We’ll see if that works by fleshing out the subclasses.

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