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Line-Sweep Ambient Obscurance

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Abstract

Screen-space ambient occlusion and obscurance have become established methods for rendering global illumination effects in real-time applications. While they have seen a steady line of refinements, their computational complexity has remained largely unchanged and either undersampling artefacts or too high render times limit their scalability. In this paper we show how the fundamentally quadratic per-pixel complexity of previous work can be reduced to a linear complexity. We solve obscurance in discrete azimuthal directions by performing line sweeps across the depth buffer in each direction. Our method builds upon the insight that scene points along each line can be incrementally inserted into a data structure such that querying for the largest occluder among the visited samples along the line can be achieved at an amortized constant cost. The obscurance radius therefore has no impact on the execution time and our method produces accurate results with smooth occlusion gradients in a few milliseconds per frame on commodity hardware.

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