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Cornell University Program of Computer Graphics
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Using perceptual texture masking for efficient image synthesis.

Bruce Walter, Sumant Pattanaik, and Donald P. Greenberg.

In G. Drettakis and H.-P. Seidel, editors, EUROGRAPHICS 2002 Conference Proceedings, volume 21(3). The Eurographics Association, Blackwell Publishers, September 2002.

Texture mapping has become indispensable in image synthesis as an inexpensive source of rich visual detail. Less obvious, but just as useful, is its ability to mask image errors due to inaccuracies in geometry or lighting. This ability can be used to substantially accelerate rendering by eliminating computations when the resulting errors will be perceptually insignificant.

Our new method precomputes the masking ability of textures using aspects of the JPEG image compression standard. This extra information is stored as threshold elevation factors in the texture's mip-map and interpolated at image generation time as part of the normal texture lookup process. Any algorithm which uses error tolerances or visibility thresholds can then take advantage of texture masking. Applications to adaptive shadow testing, irradiance caching, and path tracing are demonstrated.

Unlike prior methods, our approach does not require that initial images be computed before masking can be exploited and incurs only negligible runtime computational overhead. Thus, it is much easier to integrate with existing rendering systems for both static and dynamic scenes and yields computational savings even when only small amounts of texture masking are present.

This paper is available as a PDF file WPG02.pdf (917K).

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