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Real-Time Ray-Traced Ambient Occlusion of Complex Scenes using Spatial Hashing

Pascal Gautron, NVIDIA

GTC 2020

Ambient occlusion is an effective way to approximate global illumination: in essence, the closer a point is to its surroundings, the darker it gets. For real-time rendering, this effect is often approximated using screen-space techniques, leading to visible artifacts. Ray tracing provides a unique way to increase the rendering fidelity by accurately computing the distance to the surrounding objects, but it introduces sampling noise. Using the NVIDIA RTX technology available with Vulkan, we propose a real-time ray-traced ambient occlusion technique in which noise is removed in world space. Using spatial hashing for efficient storage, we'll cover all the technical challenges to make ambient occlusion a production feature usable in CAD viewports with scenes comprising thousands of instances and hundreds of millions of polygons.

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