Standard Article


  1. Erik Reinhard1,
  2. Erum Khan2,
  3. Ahmet Oğuz Akyüz2

Published Online: 16 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470050118.ecse529

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

How to Cite

Reinhard, E., Khan, E. and Akyüz, A. O. 2009. Rendering. Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. 2412–2418.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

  2. 2

    University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2009


In the real world, light sources emit photons that normally travel in straight lines until they interact with a surface or volume. When a photon encounters a surface, it may either be absorbed, reflected, or transmitted. Some of these photons may hit the retina of an observer where they are converted into a signal that is then processed by the brain, thus forming an image. Similarly, photons may be caught by the sensor of a camera. In either case, the image is a 2-D representation of the environment.

The formation of an image as a result of photons interacting with a 3-D environment may be simulated on the computer. The environment is then replaced by a 3-D geometric model and the interaction of light with this model is simulated with one of a large number of algorithms. This simulation of light behavior is called rendering.


  • rendering;
  • geometry;
  • materials;
  • illumination;
  • ray tracing;
  • ray casting;
  • radiosity;
  • Monte Carlo sampling;
  • photon mapping;
  • image-based rendering