Approximate Soft Shadows on Arbitrary Surfaces using Penumbra Wedges
Paper in proceedings, 2002
Shadow generation has been subject to serious investigation in computer graphics, and many clever algorithms have been suggested. However, previous algorithms cannot render high quality soft shadows onto arbitrary, animated objects in real time. Pursuing this goal, we present a new soft shadow algorithm that extends the standard shadow volume algorithm by replacing each shadow quadrilateral with a new primitive, called the penumbra wedge. For each silhouette edge as seen from the light source, a penumbra wedge is created that approximately models the penumbra volume that this edge gives rise to. Together the penumbra wedges can render images that often are remarkably close to more precisely rendered soft shadows. Furthermore, our new primitive is designed so that it can be rasterized efficiently. Many real-time algorithms can only use planes as shadow receivers, while ours can handle arbitrary shadow receivers. The proposed algorithm can be of great value to, e.g., 3D computer games, especially since it is highly likely that this algorithm can be implemented on programmable graphics hardware coming out within the next year, and because games often prefer perceptually convincing shadows.