A Programmable System for Artistic Volumetric Lighting

Project Members

Derek Nowrouzezahrai (Disney Research Zurich)
Jared Johnson (Walt Disney Animation Studios Intern)
Andrew Selle (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Dylan Lacewell (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Michael Kaschalk (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Wojciech Jarosz (Disney Research Zurich)

Disney Research, Zurich
Walt Disney Animation Studios


We present a method for generating art-directable volumetric effects, ranging from physically-accurate to non-physical results. Our system mimics the way experienced artists think about volumetric effects by using an intuitive lighting primitive, and decoupling the modeling and shading of this primitive. To accomplish this, we generalize the physically-based photon beams method to allow arbitrarily programmable simulation and shading phases. This provides an intuitive design space for artists to rapidly explore a wide range of physically-based as well as plausible, but exaggerated, volumetric effects. We integrate our approach into a real-world production pipeline and couple our volumetric effects to surface shading.

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