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Virtual Dictionary

Caustic Shading

Caustics are a type of reflective lighting which bring greatly enhanced realism to a virtual environment. They are a refinement on raytracing (or alternatively on raycasting), in which additional calculations start when the light rays hit an object with a refractive index greater than 0, and a transparency greater than 0. In other words, an object that is partially transparent and scatters the light.

Caustic shading then, is essentially a secondary lightsource of reflected light, which casts an inverted shadow – a bright shape – on other surfaces. To save processing power of course, only those reflections as seen by the user's viewpoint are rendered. Caustic shading can recreate effects such as the glowing crescent on the desk below a backlit glass, or the flickering patterns of reflected light on a wall above a pool of water.

See Also: Raytracing, Raycasting, Scanline Rendering, Caustic Network, Volumetric Caustics, Photon Mapped Caustics, Caustics

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Related Dictionary Entries for Caustic Shading:

Caustic Shading

Direct Light

Indirect Light


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The potential for real-time ray tracing has been a major talking point in 3D graphics ever since Intel announced its plans for the x86-based multi-core Larrabee discrete graphics chip at IDF in 2007. However, a new graphics company called C...

Researchers Benjamin Mora and Min Chen of Swansea University in Singleton Park, Swansea, UK, along with Ross Maciejewski and David S. Ebert of the Purdue School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in West Lafayette, Indiana, US, have dev...

(Press Release) Lightworks, supplier of rendering solutions for developers of advanced 3D computer graphics software, is pleased to announce that the Company will be taking part in this year’s Congress On the Future of Engineering Softwar...

(Press Release) LightWork Design, supplier of rendering solutions for developers of advanced 3D computer graphics software, has announced the release of LightWorks 8.1 which provides LightWorks customers with yet more enhanced rendering fun...

The 3D reconstruction of a face from a single 2D image could be made faster and more accurate with new software being developed by scientists at York University.

Dr. William Smith, a lecturer in computer vision at York, aims ...