Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games (I3D) 2007
We introduce a visually pleasant ambient occlusion approximation running on real-time graphics hardware. Our method is a multi-pass algorithm that separates the ambient occlusion problem into highfrequency, detailed ambient occlusion and low-frequency, distant ambient occlusion domains, both capable of running independently and in parallel. The high-frequency detailed approach uses an image-space method to approximate the ambient occlusion due to nearby occluders caused by high surface detail. The low-frequency approach uses the intrinsic properties of a modern GPU to greatly reduce the search area for large and distant occluders with the help of a low-detail approximated version of the occluder geometry. Our method utilizes the highly parallel, stream processors (GPUs) to perform real-time visually pleasant ambient occlusion. We show that our ambient occlusion approximation works on a wide variety of applications such as molecular data visualization, dynamic deformable animated models, highly detailed geometry. Our algorithm demonstrates scalability and is well-suited for the current and upcoming graphics hardware.