A new ray-tracing technique is presented which does not work with ray–object intersections per se, but is based on the traversal of an unstructured tetrahedral mesh providing a convex enclosure of a scene of polyhedral objects. The tetrahedral mesh provides tight bounding and an adaptive subdivision of space. This non-hierarchical data structure is traversed adaptively until one is led directly and unconditionally to the first object intersected. Rendering times are directly related to the average thickness of the enclosing mesh since all tetrahedra are traversed in constant time.Since the proposed algorithm operates directly with volume elements, it allows for volumetric rendering effects. Volume rendering or anisotropic media can be implemented without any further effort. This is an important advantage as compared to usual techniques, which only operate on surface data.Timings for several examples show that the use of this type of ray-tracing technique, which is more suitable for general purpose visualization codes than traditional techniques, results in CPU times that are comparable with the best ray-tracing techniques presently used. This is an unexpected and important result, as the vectorization and parallclization of the proposed technique are straightforward, in contrast with traditional ray-tracing techniques.

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Published on 01/01/1994

DOI: 10.1002/nme.1620372009
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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