[Bf-committers] BRDF conversion - Was Farsthary anouncement
Yves Poissant
ypoissant2 at videotron.ca
Thu Feb 12 16:09:28 CET 2009
From: "Arne Schmitz" <arne.schmitz at gmx.net>
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 5:08 AM
>> The mathematical definition of a BRDF is simple enough, that it seems
>> you could wrap specular and diffuse legacy shaders into a blackbox,
>> with all the parameters stored internally, not visible to the outside
>> world. Sure, it'd suck quite a lot, but what I'm wondering is if
>> that'd work better then trying to mathematically map legacy shaders to
>> valid BRDF's.
>
> The problem with many legacy materials / BRDFs is, that they are not
> true BRDFs. That is they violate some conditions of being a physically
> valid BRDF. For example the traditional Phong model is not energy
> conserving, i.e. it might create more reflected radiance, than
> incoming radiance is produced. With this in mind, I figure you /could/
> for example map a legacy BRDF to a 6-dimensional function defined on
> spherical harmonics, and make a least squares approximation to a
> valid, modern BRDF that is physically sound. You will notice
> differences, but it would still be nice. Anyone want to write a paper
> about that? :) I think SIGGRAPH Asia deadline is coming up...
I like your post Arne. You make it look just scary enough ;-)
Indeed, the mathematical definition of a BRDF looks simple enough. However,
the implications of this apparent simplicity are quite complex. One only
need to read Robert Lewis paper "Making Shaders More Physically Plausible",
one of the first papers to attempt to tweak the Phong shader into an energy
conserving and reciprocal sort of BRDF, to understand the mathematical
wizardness and deep BRDF understanding required to do that. Today, the
mathematical formula for normalizing the Phong model is known and its
simplicity is stunning. But coming to that required quite some mathematical
hoops.
Today, we know that the trick is to figure the integral of the volume
occupied by the reflection distribution lobe and find a way to normalize
that volume to unity. The Phong lobe is itself mathematically simple and
integrating that is also quite simple and once analytically integrated, the
normalizing is also relatively trivial.
But there are other shader models that are much more complex and it is quite
difficult to figure the integral of the distribution lobe. Some shaders
cannot be analytically integrated and I'm not aware of any researcher who
have spent time trying to convert those difficult shaders into a form of
BRDF while there are already very good and flexible BRDF models that can
flexibly replace them. So indeed, if someone from the Blender developers
community was to figure that, it could be worth a paper for some SIGGRAPH.
On the research front, the recent efforts are rather into developing some
empirical BRDF models based on accumulating some basis functions that are
weighted through least-square fitting such that any measured BRDF can be
mimicked with a procedural model. Along the same line, your suggestion,
Arne, does fit nicely into recent efforts.
----------------
I found this 3D World page from reading february issue of 3D World yesterday
concerning "Technoloogies to watch during 2009" among them is BRDF =).
http://tinyurl.com/5oxr2t
Yves
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