A Survey of Procedural Noise Functions

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Abstract

Procedural noise functions are widely used in computer graphics, from off-line rendering in movie production to interactive video games. The ability to add complex and intricate details at low memory and authoring cost is one of its main attractions. This survey is motivated by the inherent importance of noise in graphics, the widespread use of noise in industry and the fact that many recent research developments justify the need for an up-to-date survey. Our goal is to provide both a valuable entry point into the field of procedural noise functions, as well as a comprehensive view of the field to the informed reader. In this report, we cover procedural noise functions in all their aspects. We outline recent advances in research on this topic, discussing and comparing recent and well-established methods. We first formally define procedural noise functions based on stochastic processes and then classify and review existing procedural noise functions. We discuss how procedural noise functions are used for modelling and how they are applied to surfaces. We then introduce analysis tools and apply them to evaluate and compare the major approaches to noise generation. We finally identify several directions for future work.

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