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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Illumination for computer generated pictures


The quality of computer generated images of three-dimensional scenes depends on the shading technique used to paint the objects on the cathode-ray tube screen. The shading algorithm itself depends in part on the method for modeling the object, which also determines the hidden surface algorithm. The various methods of object modeling, shading, and hidden surface removal are thus strongly interconnected. Several shading techniques corresponding to different methods of object modeling and the related hidden surface algorithms are presented here. Human visual perception and the fundamental laws of optics are considered in the development of a shading rule that provides better quality and increased realism in generated images.

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