With the latest advances in computer graphics, the use of general compute APIs
such as CUDA, OpenCL, and DirectX 11 compute shaders has now become main-
stream. By allowing modern GPUs to go far beyond the standard processing of
triangles and pixels, the power of the graphics processor is now open to domains
reaching far beyond those of visualization or video games. The latest advances
in GPU technologies now allow the implementation of various parallel algorithms
such as AI or physics. With the parallel nature of the GPU, such algorithms can
generally run order of magnitudes faster than their CPU counterparts. This sec-
tion covers chapters that present techniques that go beyond the normal pixel and
triangle scope of GPUs and take advantage of the parallelism of modern graphics
processors to accomplish such tasks.
The first chapter, “Volumetric Transparency with Per-Pixel Fragment Lists”
by aszl´o Sz´ecsi, al Barta, and Bal´azs Koacs, presents an efficient approach
to rendering multiple layers of translucency by harnessing the power of compute
shaders. By implementing a simple ray-tracing approach in a computational
shader, they can determine the appropriate color intensity for simple particles.
The approach can then be taken further and extended to even account for visual
effects such as refraction and volumetric shadows.
In the second chapter, “Practical Binary Surface and Solid Voxelization with
Direct3D 11” by Michael Schwarz, a new real-time voxelization technique is pre-
sented. This technique is efficient and tackles some of the problems, such as
voxel holes, that occur in rasterization-based voxelization algorithms. The re-
sulting voxels can then be used in the application of a variety of techniques such
as collision detection, ambient occlusion, and even real-time global illumination.
And finally, in “Interactive Ray Tracing Using the Compute Shader in Di-
rectX 11” by Arturo Garc´ıa, Francisco
Avila, Sergio Murgu´ıa, and Leo Reyes, a
novel technique is presented to allow for real-time interactive ray tracing using
a combination of the GPU and CPU processing power. This implementation
properly handles glossy reflections as global illumination. An efficient bounding
volume hierarchy is also offered to accelerate the discovery of ray intersections.
—Sebastien St-Laurent
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