Monte Carlo methods for physically based volume rendering

1Disney Research 2Solid Angle 3Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 4Charles University, Prague 5Dartmouth College

In ACM SIGGRAPH Courses, 2018

Various media rendered with Monte Carlo methods for physically based simulation of light transport in volumes. The three images on the left are courtesy of Lee Griggs.


We survey methods that utilize Monte Carlo (MC) integration to simulate light transport in scenes with participating media. The goal of this course is to complement a recent Eurographics 2018 state-of-the-art report providing a broad overview of most techniques developed to date, including a few methods from neutron transport, with a focus on concepts that are most relevant to CG practitioners.

The wide adoption of path-tracing algorithms in high-end realistic rendering has stimulated many diverse research initiatives aimed at efficiently rendering scenes with participating media. More computational power has enabled holistic approaches that tie volumetric effects and surface scattering together and simplify authoring workflows. Methods that were previously assumed to be incompatible have been unified to allow renderers to benefit from each method's respective strengths. Generally, investigations have shifted away from specialized solutions, e.g. for single- or multiple-scattering approximations or analytical methods, towards the more versatile Monte Carlo algorithms that are currently enjoying a widespread success in many production settings.

The goal of this course is to provide the audience with a deep, up-to-date understanding of key techniques for free-path sampling, transmittance estimation, and light-path construction in participating media, including those that are presently utilized in production rendering systems. We present a coherent overview of the fundamental building blocks and we contrast the various advanced methods that build on them, providing attendees with guidance for implementing existing solutions and developing new ones.



Jan Novák, Iliyan Georgiev, Johannes Hanika, Jaroslav Křivánek, Wojciech Jarosz. Monte Carlo methods for physically based volume rendering. ACM SIGGRAPH Courses, August 2018.
    author    = {Nov\'ak, Jan and Georgiev, Iliyan and Hanika, Johannes and K\v riv\'anek, Jaroslav and Jarosz,
    title     = {{{Monte}} {{Carlo}} methods for physically based volume rendering},
    booktitle = {ACM SIGGRAPH Courses},
    year      = {2018},
    month     = aug,
    isbn      = {978-1-4503-5809-5},
    doi       = {10/c5fj}
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