Standard Article


  1. Jaroslav Křivánek1,
  2. Sumanta Pattanaik2

Published Online: 14 DEC 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470050118.ecse526

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

How to Cite

Křivánek, J. and Pattanaik, S. 2007. Lighting. Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Czech Technical University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

  2. 2

    University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 DEC 2007


This article gives a short introduction to lighting simulation. First, we introduce the radiometric quantities describing light energy distribution in space. Using these quantities, we define the bidirectional reflection distribution function characterizing surface reflection properties, and we give various models of light sources used for lighting simulation. We then move on to give a survey of lighting simulation algorithms in current use. We start with the simplest direct lighting, identifying its weaknesses that lead us to global illumination. We give a mathematical foundation of the global illumination problem, the Rendering Equation. A number of approaches to solving this equation are then shortly described. Finally, we compare the state of the art in lighting simulation in industry and in the research community and give some ideas for prospective future work in the field.


  • rendering;
  • image synthesis;
  • global illumination;
  • BRDF;
  • ray tracing;
  • Monte Carlo;
  • radiosity