Tessellation-Free Displacement Mapping for Ray Tracing

Théo Thonat, François Beaune, Xin Sun, Nathan Carr and Tamy Boubekeur
ACM Transactions on Graphics - SIGGRAPH Asia 2021 Technical Paper

Tessellation-Free Displacement Mapping for Ray Tracing


Displacement mapping is a powerful mechanism for adding fine to medium geometric details over a 3D surface using a 2D map encoding them. While GPU rasterization supports it through the hardware tessellation unit, ray tracing surface meshes textured with high quality displacement requires a significant amount of memory. More precisely, the input surface needs to be pre-tessellated at the displacement map resolution before being enriched with its mandatory acceleration data structure. Consequently, designing displacement maps interactively while enjoying a full physically-based rendering is often impossible, as simply tiling multiple times the map quickly saturates the graphics memory. In this work we introduce a new tessellation-free displacement mapping approach for ray tracing. Our key insight is to decouple the displacement from its base domain by mapping a displacement-specific acceleration structures directly on the mesh. As a result, our method shows low memory footprint and fast high resolution displacement rendering, making interactive displacement editing possible.



Paper's video

Short talk at SIGGRAPH Asia 2021

Full talk at SIGGRAPH Asia 2021


author = {Thonat, Theo and Beaune, Francois and Sun, Xin and Carr, Nathan and Boubekeur, Tamy},
title = {Tessellation-Free Displacement Mapping for Ray Tracing},
year = {2021},
issue_date = {December 2021},
publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
volume = {40},
number = {6},
issn = {0730-0301},
url = {https://doi.org/10.1145/3478513.3480535},
doi = {10.1145/3478513.3480535},
month = {dec},
articleno = {282},
numpages = {16},
keywords = {affine arithmetic, displacement mapping, ray tracing}