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Learning Rendering

This resource is a series of images/animations demonstrating the options available in mainstream rendering programs. The series is intended to support an undergraduate or postgraduate course in rendering techniques, an instructor using the resource as appropriate to his/her particular course.

Most images that illustrate a rendering method are highly tuned and are consequently of little educational value. The idea of the series is to demonstrate both the potential of the techniques and their deficiencies and disadvantages. Apparent in the images are the effects of the many and varied shortcomings in the methods that tend to be overlooked in standard texts. Another problem in studying images produced by renderers is that many subtle differences are lost in colour reproductions.

One of the motivations of the series is to enable a study of renders and their behaviour without having to set them going and wait the (usually) long time for images to complete. It is hoped that the large number of images facilitates this. The main series is structured around an old idea - to use the same scene as far as possible and inject it into a number of renderers and to use different options within a rendering method.

The image descriptions, although reasonably comprehensive, are not meant to explain how each method works. Instead they describe the important visual ramifications of the algorithms. In other words, they are meant to be used in conjunction with normal textbook type explanations and therefore assume that the viewer has already some familiarity with the basic operation of the algorithms.

Ideally the imagery should be viewed directly on a monitor screen, but any image could be used to create 35mm slides for lecture presentation. Note that the zoom sequences refer to an image regeneration of an appropriate part of the full sized image at a higher resolution. In other words they are generated by moving the viewpoint towards a point of interest in the scene - they are not image zooms.

The set consists of several hundred images which are all 24bit stored in a compressed (lossless) tiff format which should be compatible with most popular image browsers. It is recommended that a browser with a zoom facility is used so that areas of interest can be studied more closely. The set also contains several animations. These are stored in the standard PC AVI format.

The series consists of the following general topics:

The work on this resource has been supported by AGOCG and conducted under the direction of Dr Alan Watt of the University of Sheffield. The materials are being made available through the AGOCG Web pages.

Alan Watt
University of Sheffield