Ray Tracing in Non-Constant Media

Jos Stam, Eric Languenou

EUROGRAPHICS Workshop on Rendering


In this paper, we explore the theory of optical deformations due to continuous variations of the refractive index of the air, and present several efficient implementations. We introduce the basic equations from geometrical optics, outlining a general method of solution. Further, we model the fluctuations of the index of refraction both as a superposition of blobs and as a stochastic function. Using a well known perturbation technique from geometrical optics, we compute linear approximations to the deformed rays. We employ this approximation and the blob representation to efficiently ray trace non linear rays through multiple environments. In addition we present a stochastic model for the ray deviations derived from an empirical model of air turbulence. We use this stochastic model to precompute deformation maps.

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