Spotlights for Global Illumination

How well can GI be approximated with parametric lights?

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This is the bachelor thesis I did as part of my technical artist education at Blekinge Institute of Technology. I created a simple OpenGL rendering engine for this project. In it I explore a technique using a reflective shadow map to place and configure spotlights in an environment to approximate global illumination.

The spotlight distribution technique is implemented in a delimited real time graphics engine, and the results are compared to a naive spotlight distribution method. The technique could be used in its current state for applications where the view can be controlled by the developer such as in 3D side scrolling games or as a tool to generate editable indirect illumination. Further research needs to be conducted to make it more broadly viable.