A Voxel-based Rendering Pipeline for Large 3D Line Sets
We present a voxel-based rendering pipeline for large 3D line sets that employs GPU ray-casting to achieve scalable rendering including transparency and global illumination effects. Even for opaque lines we demonstrate superior rendering performance compared to GPU rasterization of lines, and when transparency is used we can interactively render amounts of lines that are infeasible to be rendered via rasterization. We propose a direction-preserving encoding of lines into a regular voxel grid, along with the quantization of directions using face-to-face connectivity in this grid. On the regular grid structure, parallel GPU ray-casting is used to determine visible fragments in correct visibility order. To enable interactive rendering of global illumination effects like low-frequency shadows and ambient occlusions, illumination simulation is performed during ray-casting on a level-of-detail (LoD) line representation that considers the number of lines and their lengths per voxel. In this way we can render effects which are very difficult to render via GPU rasterization. A detailed performance and quality evaluation compares our approach to rasterization-based rendering of lines.