Eikonal Rendering: Efficient Light Transport in Refractive Objects

Eikonal Rendering Paper


We present a new method for real-time rendering of sophisticated lighting effects in and around refractive objects. It enables us to realistically display refractive objects with complex material properties, such as arbitrarily varying refraction index, inhomogeneous attenuation, as well as spatially-varying anisotropic scattering and reflectance properties. User-controlled changes of lighting positions only require a few seconds of update time. Our method is based on a set of ordinary differential equations derived from the eikonal equation, the main postulate of geometric optics. This set of equations allows for fast casting of bent light rays with the complexity of a particle tracer. Based on this concept, we also propose an efficient light propagation technique using adaptive wavefront tracing. Efficient GPU implementations for our algorithmic concepts enable us to render visual effects that were previously not reproducible in this combination in real-time.

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The first scene in the video roughly resembles Paul Debevec's video "Rendering with Natural Light" and ATI's real-time version of Debevec's algorithm. It shows an implementation of our algorithm combined with HDR rendering throughout the pipeline and effects as depth of field or motion blur. The spheres' different looks are achieved by specifying different model properties like refraction index, attenuation factor, reflection factor. The second scene shows a wine glass on a table while rendering is performed in real-time the changing of light position requires few seconds of update time. The last scene demonstrates different glass objects in a museum environment.

Download Eikonal Renderign submission video MPEG4 version 4:59 min, 91MB, (msmpeg4v2, ~5000Bps)
Download Eikonal Renderign submission video (h264) h264 version 4:59 min, 60MB, (H.264, Quicktime 7.1 compatible, ~1500Bps)
Sound Soundtrack: GusGus, Anthem (Original)


I. Ihrke, G. Ziegler, A. Tevs, C. Theobalt, M. Magnor, H.-P. Seidel, "Eikonal Rendering: Efficient Light Transport in Refractive Objects" , ACM Trans. on Graphics (Siggraph'07), 2007, to appear. [bibtex]

   author = "I.~Ihrke and G.~Ziegler and A.~Tevs and C.~Theobalt and M.~Magnor and H.-P.~Seidel",
   title = "Eikonal Rendering: Efficient Light Transport in Refractive Objects",
   journal = "ACM Trans. on Graphics (Siggraph'07)",
   year = "2007",
   month = aug,
   pages="to appear"

Source code

  • Light simulator: Sourcecode is stored as gpu_lightsim/ in the SVN of the NVision Project.
  • View renderer: refEiko-0.2.tar.bz2 - (5. august, 2007)
    This package contains a complete source code and additional libraries needed for proper compilation. All the data used in the scenes is included.