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A whole variety of different techniques for simulating global illumination in virtual environments have been developed over recent years. Each technique, including radiosity, Monte-Carlo ray- or photon-tracing, and directional-dependent radiance computations, is best suited for simulating only some special case environments. None of these techniques is currently able to efficiently simulate all important lighting effects in nontrivial scenes. In this paper, we describe a new approach for efficiently combining different global illumination algorithms to yield a composite lighting simulation: Lighting Networks. Lighting Networks can exploit the advantages of each algorithm and combine them in such a way as to simulate lighting effects that could only be computed at great cost by any single algorithm. Furthermore, this approach allows a user to configure the Lighting Network to compute only specific lighting effects that are important for a given task, while avoiding a costly simulation of the full global illumination in a scene.
composite lighting, lighting simulation, global illumination, representation, basis functions, domain decomposition, reflection approximation, Monte-Carlo, finite elements

W. Heidrich, P. Slusallek, J. Popp, H. Seidel and M. Stamminger, "Composite Lighting Simulations with Lighting Networks," in IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 18, no. , pp. 22-31, 1998.
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