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Bidirectional Importance Sampling for Unstructured Direct Illumination

Abstract
Recent research in bidirectional importance sampling has focused primarily on structured illumination sources such as distant environment maps, while unstructured illumination has received little attention. In this paper, we present a method for bidirectional importance sampling of unstructured illumination, allowing us to use the same method for sampling both distant as well as local/indirect sources. Building upon recent work in [[WFA*05]], we model complex illumination as a large set of point lights. The subsequent sampling process draws samples only from this point set. We start by constructing a piecewise constant approximation for the lighting using an illumination cut [[CPWAP08]]. We show that this cut can be used directly for illumination importance sampling. We then use BRDF importance sampling followed by sample counting to update the cut, resulting in a bidirectional distribution that closely approximates the product of the illumination and BRDF. Drawing visibility samples from this new distribution significantly reduces the sampling variance. As a main advance over previous work, our method allows for unstructured sources, including arbitrary local direct lighting and one-bounce of indirect lighting.
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2009-01-01
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