State of the art in artistic editing of appearance, lighting, and material

1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology 2Sapienza University of Rome 3Université de Montréal 4Disney Research Zürich

In Computer Graphics Forum, 2016

Examples of artistic appearance editing (left to right): A rendering with spatially-varying reflectance and normals computed from a single image and a few input user strokes [DTPG11]; editing heterogeneous subsurface scattering acquired from a real-world material sample [STPP09]; adjusting natural environment lighting to obtain a desired shadowing and reflection appearance [Pel10]; direct manipulation of caustics and shadows with global illumination [SNM*13]. (Images taken from [DTPG11, STPP09, Pel10, SNM*13].)


Mimicking the appearance of the real world is a longstanding goal of computer graphics, with several important applications in the feature-film, architecture and medical industries. Images with well-designed shading are an important tool for conveying information about the world, be it the shape and function of a CAD model, or the mood of a movie sequence. However, authoring this content is often a tedious task, even if undertaken by groups of highly-trained and experienced artists. Unsurprisingly, numerous methods to facilitate and accelerate this appearance editing task have been proposed, enabling the editing of scene objects' appearances, lighting, and materials, as well as entailing the introduction of new interaction paradigms and specialized preview rendering techniques. In this review we provide a comprehensive survey of artistic appearance, lighting, and material editing approaches. We organize this complex and active research area in a structure tailored to academic researchers, graduate students, and industry professionals alike. In addition to editing approaches, we discuss how user interaction paradigms and rendering backends combine to form usable systems for appearance editing. We conclude with a discussion of open problems and challenges to motivate and guide future research.



Thorsten-Walther Schmidt, Fabio Pellacini, Derek Nowrouzezahrai, Wojciech Jarosz, Carsten Dachsbacher. State of the art in artistic editing of appearance, lighting, and material. Computer Graphics Forum, 35(1):216–233, February 2016.
    author   = {Schmidt, Thorsten-Walther and Pellacini, Fabio and Nowrouzezahrai, Derek and Jarosz, Wojciech and
                Dachsbacher, Carsten},
    title    = {State of the Art in Artistic Editing of Appearance, Lighting, and Material},
    journal  = {Computer Graphics Forum},
    volume   = {35},
    number   = {1},
    month    = feb,
    year     = {2016},
    pages    = {216--233},
    doi      = {10/f8c8qv},
    keywords = {artistic editing, appearance editing, material design, lighting design, relighting, material
                appearance, artistic control}
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