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Advanced Global Illumination, 2nd Edition by Kavita Bala, Philippe Bekaert, Philip Dutre

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Chapter 2

The Physics of Light Transport

The goal of rendering algorithms is to create images that accurately represent the appearance of objects in scenes. For every pixel in an image, these algorithms must find the objects that are visible at that pixel and then display their “appearance” to the user. What does the term “appearance” mean? What quantity of light energy must be measured to capture “appearance”? How is this energy computed? These are the questions that this chapter will address.

In this chapter, we present key concepts and definitions required to formulate the problem that global illumination algorithms must solve. In Section 2.1, we present a brief history of optics to motivate the basic assumptions that rendering algorithms ...

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