GDC 2015 presentations

The Game Developers Conference took place last week in San Francisco. As I am starting to see more speakers publish their slides, I am creating this post to keep track of some them (this list is not meant to be exhaustive).

For a more extensive list, Cédric Guillemet has been garnering links to GDC 2015 papers on his blog.

Lighting and atmospheric effects in Reset

I’m a bit late to the party, noticing that , co-founder of Praxis, wrote a series of articles presenting an overview of the tech involved in the rendering engine he’s writing.

Shading and atmospheric effects in Praxis’ engine

The results are visually impressive, so it’s very unfortunate he doesn’t give more details. This video in particular, showcasing real-time atmospheric effects is outstanding.

John Carmack on physically based rendering at QuakeCon 2013

In this (slightly over) one hour talk, 1½ hour including Q&A, John Carmack walks through the physics of light, the early days of rendering, the current state of the art, and the direction it is headed at. In short: until we can afford path tracing, we’re approximating it.

The rendering tools in the film industry

Here is a list of articles published by fxguide, giving fascinating insights into the tools used by the film industry in terms of rendering.

  • Ben Snow: the evolution of ILM’s lighting tools (January 2011)
    A presentation of the evolution of the technology and tools used at Industrial Light and Magic, over the course of the years and movies, from the mid-90s to nowadays.
  • Monsters University: rendering physically based monsters (June 2013)
  • The Art of Rendering (April 2012)
    A description of the different techniques used in high end rendering and the major engines.
  • The State of Rendering (July 2013): part 1, part 2
    A lengthy overview of the state of the art in high end rendering, comparing the different tools and rendering solutions available, their approach and design choices, strengths and weaknesses as well as the consequences in terms of quality, scalability and render time.

(Brace yourselves for the massive tag list hereafter.)

Toward physically based rendering, screenshot after screenshot

Here are the screenshots I made for the talk I previously mentioned. They show how the rendering evolves through the choice of shading. The setup consist of a close yellowish punctual light on the up right, and a distant red-ish punctual light on the back left, as well as a dim blue ambient. The objects only differ by the specular exponent, which jumps by a times two factor from one object to the next one, left to right.

One light, Lambert diffuse only.

Two lights, Lambert diffuse only, with variance shadow map.

Two lights, Lambert diffuse only, with albedo.

Two lights, diffuse and Phong specular. Notice the color on the left.

One light, Phong specular only. Notice the discontinuity on the left.

Two lights, diffuse and Blinn-Phong specular.

One light, Blinn-Phong specular only. Notice the absence of discontinuity.

Two lights, diffuse and normalized Phong specular. Notice the highlight intensity.

Two lights, diffuse and normalized Blinn-Phong specular.

Two lights, diffuse and normalized Blinn-Phong specular, Fresnel term with Schlick

Two lights, Heidrich-Seidel anisotropic specular.

Next steps: getting used to the Fresnel version, experimenting with the exponent as a texture lookup, and normalizing the Heidrich-Seibel specular.