high dynamic range image, data compression, tone mapping, Monte Carlo noise, dynamic scene, complex scene, real-time rendering, realistic rendering, global illumination


This dissertation focuses on the many issues that arise from the visual rendering problem. Of primary consideration is light transport simulation, which is known to be computationally expensive. Monte Carlo methods represent a simple and general class of algorithms often used for light transport computation. Unfortunately, the images resulting from Monte Carlo approaches generally suffer from visually unacceptable noise artifacts. The result of any light transport simulation is, by its very nature, an image of high dynamic range (HDR). This leads to the issues of the display of such images on conventional low dynamic range devices and the development of data compression algorithms to store and recover the corresponding large amounts of detail found in HDR images. This dissertation presents our contributions relevant to these issues. Our contributions to high dynamic range image processing include tone mapping and data compression algorithms. This research proposes and shows the efficacy of a novel level set based tone mapping method that preserves visual details in the display of high dynamic range images on low dynamic range display devices. The level set method is used to extract the high frequency information from HDR images. The details are then added to the range compressed low frequency information to reconstruct a visually accurate low dynamic range version of the image. Additional challenges associated with high dynamic range images include the requirements to reduce excessively large amounts of storage and transmission time. To alleviate these problems, this research presents two methods for efficient high dynamic range image data compression. One is based on the classical JPEG compression. It first converts the raw image into RGBE representation, and then sends the color base and common exponent to classical discrete cosine transform based compression and lossless compression, respectively. The other is based on the wavelet transformation. It first transforms the raw image data into the logarithmic domain, then quantizes the logarithmic data into the integer domain, and finally applies the wavelet based JPEG2000 encoder for entropy compression and bit stream truncation to meet the desired bit rate requirement. We believe that these and similar such contributions will make a wide application of high dynamic range images possible. The contributions to light transport simulation include Monte Carlo noise reduction, dynamic object rendering and complex scene rendering. Monte Carlo noise is an inescapable artifact in synthetic images rendered using stochastic algorithm. This dissertation proposes two noise reduction algorithms to obtain high quality synthetic images. The first one models the distribution of noise in the wavelet domain using a Laplacian function, and then suppresses the noise using a Bayesian method. The other extends the bilateral filtering method to reduce all types of Monte Carlo noise in a unified way. All our methods reduce Monte Carlo noise effectively. Rendering of dynamic objects adds more dimension to the expensive light transport simulation issue. This dissertation presents a pre-computation based method. It pre-computes the surface radiance for each basis lighting and animation key frame, and then renders the objects by synthesizing the pre-computed data in real-time. Realistic rendering of complex scenes is computationally expensive. This research proposes a novel 3D space subdivision method, which leads to a new rendering framework. The light is first distributed to each local region to form local light fields, which are then used to illuminate the local scenes. The method allows us to render complex scenes at interactive frame rates. Rendering has important applications in mixed reality. Consistent lighting and shadows between real scenes and virtual scenes are important features of visual integration. The dissertation proposes to render the virtual objects by irradiance rendering using live captured environmental lighting. This research also introduces a virtual shadow generation method that computes shadows cast by virtual objects to the real background. We finally conclude the dissertation by discussing a number of future directions for rendering research, and presenting our proposed approaches.


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Graduation Date





Pattanaik, Sumanta


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Computer Science

Degree Program

Computer Science








Release Date

January 2006

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)