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Annotated bibliography organized by topic.

A note for off-campus students: Stanford provides a web proxy server to allow access to restricted access journals and periodicals such as the ACM digital library from off campus machines. Instructions on how to set up this proxy are available at


There is one required text for the course:

  • Matt Pharr and Greg Humphreys
    Physically Based Rendering: From Theory to Implementation
    Morgan-Kaufmann Publishers, 2004
    Book web site

In addition, the following books may be useful in understanding course material and implementing final projects.

  • Andrew Glassner
    An Introduction to Ray Tracing
    Book web site

    • This book contains a collection of chapters written by many of the original inventors of the major ray tracing algorithms. Although somewhat dated, it is filled with both practical and theoretical information that not available in other books.

    Peter Shirley and Keith Morley
    Realistic Ray Tracing, 2nd Edition

  • K. Peters, 2003

    • This ray tracing book by Peter Shirley is highly recommended. It covers much of the material in the class at a very understandable level.

    Henrik Wann Jensen
    Realistic Image Synthesis Using Photon Mapping

  • K. Peters, 2001
    Book web site

    • An intermediate level book that describes the best current technique for global illumination calculations, the photon map.

    Philip Dutre, Philippe Bekaert, Kavita Bala
    Advanced Global Illumition
    Book web site

    Francois Sillion, Claude Puech
    Radiosity and Global Illumination
    Morgan Kaufmann, 1994

    • Another good introduction to physically-based rendering, emphasizing radiosity.

    Michael Cohen and John Wallace
    Radiosity and Realistic Image Synthesis
    Academic Press, 1993

    • The book by Cohen and Wallace is the classic introduction to radiosity. Unfortunately, they concentrate on the finite element method and do not devote much space to Monte Carlo Ray Tracing.

    Andrew Glassner
    Principles of Digital Image Synthesis
    Morgan Kaufmann, 1995

    • An encyclopedic overview of rendering.

    Anthony Apodaca and Larry Gritz
    Advanced Renderman: Creating CGI for the Motion Pictures
    Morgan Kaufmann, 1999

    • The best current overview of advanced rendering from a user's point of view.

    David Ebert, F. Kenton Musgrave, Darwyn Peachey, Steven Worley, Ken Perlin
    Texturing and Modeling, Third Edition
    Morgan Kaufmann, 2003
    web site

    • An excellent overview of procedural modeling and texturing.

    Steve Upstill
    The RenderMan Companion: A Programmers Guide to Realistic Computer Graphics
    Addison-Wesley, 1989

    • The standard reference on the RenderMan interface

The Goals of Rendering


D. Greenberg, A framework for realistic image synthesis, CACM 42(8), pp. 44-53, Aug. 1999. (pdf)


D. Greenberg, K. Torrance, P. Shirley, J. Arvo, J. A. Ferwerda, S. pattanaik, E. P. F. Lafortune, B. Walter, S. Foo, B. Trimbone, A framework for realistic rendering, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 97 (Los Angelos, CA, August 3-9, 1997). In Computer Graphics Proceedings, Annual Conference Series, 1997, ACM SIGGRAPH, pp. 477-494. (pdf)

Ray Tracing I: Basic Algorithms


A. Appel, Some techniques for the machine rendering of solids, Proc. of the Spring Joint Computer Conference, pp. 37-45, 1968.

R. A. Goldstein, R. Nagel, 3-D visual simulation, Simulation, 16(1), pp. 25-31, Jan. 1971.

T. Whitted, A improved illumination model for shaded display, CACM, 23(6), pp. 343-349, June 1980, (acm).


E. Haines, Essential ray tracing algorithms, In Glassner, An Introduction to Ray Tracing, pp. 33-78.

P. Hanrahan, A survey of ray-surface intersection algorithms, In Glassner, An Introduction to Ray Tracing, pp. 79-120.

T. Moller, B. Trumbore, Fast, minimum storage ray-triangle intersection, Journal of Graphics Tools, 2(1), pp. 21-28, 1997. (pdf).

  • Detailed explanation of a very fast ray-triangle intersection algorithm.

P. Hanrahan, Ray-triangle and ray-quadrilateral intersection in homogeneous coordinates, unpublished manuscript. (pdf)

  • An old technical note that I wrote in 1989 that describes how to do ray-triangle intersections using Plucker coordinates.

Ray Tracing II: Acceleration Techniques


J. Arvo, D. Kirk, A survey of ray tracing acceleration structures, In Glassner, An Introduction to Ray Tracing, pp. 201-262.

J. Arvo, Ray tracing with meta-hierarchies, In <em>SIGGRAPH 90 Advanced Topics in Ray Tracing Course Notes</em>, 1990. (ps)

The [ Best Efficiency Scheme Homepage].

  • Comparison of many common acceleration data structures, including grids, hierarchical grids, adaptive grids, k-d trees, and oct-trees. A technical paper describing their results is available from this page.

I. Wald, V. Havran, On building fast kd-trees for ray tracing, and on doing that in O(N log N), SCI Technical Report 2006-009, (pdf)

A. Reshetov, A. Soupikov, J. Hurley, Multi-level ray tracing algorithm, ACM Transactions on Computer Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2005) 24(3), pp. 1176-1185, 2005 (acm)

Introduction to real-time ray tracing, SIGGRAPH 2005 Course Number 28, (course notes)

  • Excellent collection of talks describing recent work



P. Hanrahan, Rendering concepts, In Cohen and Wallace, Radiosity and Realistic Image Synthesis, pp. 13-40.


R. Barzel, Lighting controls for computer cinematography, Journal of Graphics Tools, 2(1), pp. 1-20, 1997. (jgt html, pdf)

  • Describes the PIXAR <tt>uberlight</tt> shader, as well as issues in controlling lighting in motion picture production.

J. Palmer, [ Radiometry and Photometry FAQ]


R. McCluney, Introduction to Radiometry and Photometry, Artech House, Norword, MA, 1994.

  • Modern treatment of radiometry

P. Bouguer, Optical Treatise on The Gradation of Light, Translated with an introduction and notes by W. Middleton, University of Toronto Press, 1961.

J. H. Lambert, Photometry, Translated with an introductory monograph and notes by D. DiLaura, Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, 2001.

  • These last two famous books were written in 1760. Many of the current ideas about radiometry and photometry can be traced to Bouguer and Lambert. Lambert is famous for Lambert's Law; he also developed a formula for the irradiance due to a polygonal source. Bouguer is famous for introducing the idea of estimating radiant intensity using the relative distance between a light source and a standard candle.

The Light Field

No Additional Readings

Monte Carlo Integration I


Chapter 2, Fundamentals of Monte Carlo Integration, State of the Art in Monte Carlo Ray Tracing for Realistic Synthesis, SIGGRAPH Course 29, 2001. (pdf)

Chapter 3, Direct Lighting via Monte Carlo Integration, State of the Art in Monte Carlo Ray Tracing for Realistic Synthesis, SIGGRAPH Course 29, 2001.


E. Veach, Introduction to Monte Carlo Integration, CS448 Lecture 6 Notes, 1997. (ps)

E. Veach, Sampling Random Variables, CS448 Lecture 7 Notes, 1997. (ps)

  • Eric Veach gave a mini-course on advanced methods in Monte Carlo Ray Tracing in this 1997 Special Topics Course in Computer Graphics. These two lectures, 6 and 7, cover material presented in class.

P. Shirley, Realistic ray tracing, Chapter 11: Monte Carlo Integration, Chapter 12 Choosing sample points, and Chapter 15 Soft Shadows.

  • These chapters cover the material presented in lectures. These chapters are highly recommended.

Cameras and Film


C. Kolb, D. Mitchell, P. Hanrahan, A realistic camera model for computer graphics, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 95 (Los Angelos, CA, August 6-11, 1995), In Computer Graphics, Proceedings, Annual Conference Series, 1995, ACM SIGGRAPH, pp. 317-324. (paper).


B. London and J. Upton, Photography, Fifth Edition, HarperCollins College Publishers, 1994.

  • A easy-to-read, extremely well-illustrated introduction to photography. Widely used in introductory photography courses.

R. Kingslake, Optics in Photography, SPIE Optical Engineering Press, 1992.

  • A book on the science of photography aimed at the advanced amateur photographer who wishes to understand more about their equipment. Kingslake was Director of Optical Design for Eastman Kodak Company.

Monte Carlo Integration II


Cook, Carpenter, Porter, Distributed ray tracing, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 1984, (acm)


D. Mitchell, Spectrally optimal sampling for distribution ray tracing, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 91, Computer Graphics 25(4), pp. 157-164, 1991. (acm)

M. Lee, R. Redner, S. Uselton, Statistically optimized sampling for distributed ray tracing, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 85, Computer Graphics 19(3), pp. 61-68, 1985, (acm)

  • Describes the sequential sampling point of view.

Chapter 4, Stratified Sampling on 2-manifolds, State of the Art in Monte Carlo Ray Tracing for Realistic Synthesis, SIGGRAPH Course 29, 2001. (pdf)

  • A very elegant, but advanced, discussion of uniform area sampling on arbitrary surfaces. Covers methods for stratified sampling.

E. Veach, Variance Reduction I, CS448 Lecture 8 Notes, 1997. (ps)

E. Veach, Variance Reduction II, CS448 Lecture 9 Notes, 1997. (ps)

E. Veach, Quasi-Monte Carlo, CS448 Lecture 10 Notes, 1997. (ps)

Sampling and Reconstruction


R. Cook, Stochastic sampling in computer graphics, ACM Transactions on Computer Graphics, 5(1), pp. 51-72, Jan 1986, (acm)

D. Mitchell, Generating antialiased images at low sampling densities, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 87, Computer Graphics 21(3), pp. 65-72, 1987, (acm)

D. Mitchell, A. Netravali, Reconstruction filters for computer graphics, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 88, Computer Graphics 22(4), pp. 221-228, 1988, (acm)


P. Hanrahan, Notes on signal processing for computer graphics, (unpublished manuscript), (pdf)

  • I will review this material during the first part of my lecture.

M. Dippe, E. Wold, Antialiasing through stochastic sampling, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 85, Computer Graphics 19(3), pp. 69-78, 1985. (acm)

  • A more rigorous discussion of jittered sampling.

T. Duff, Polygon scan conversion by exact convolution, Proceedings International Conference on Raster Imaging and Digital Typography, pp. 151-168, Cambridge University Press, Oct 1989.

  • Describes an analytical algorithm for convolving polygonal regions with polynomial filters. Nice comparison with uniform and nonuniform supersampling techniques.


No additional readings

The Rendering Equation

No additional readings

Path Tracing

P. Hanrahan, Solving the rendering equation, SIGGRAPH 2001 Course 29: Monte Carlo Ray Tracing. (pdf)

M. Fajardo, Monte Carlo ray tracing in action, SIGGRAPH 2001 Course 29: Monte Carlo Ray Tracing. (pdf)

  • Slides giving an overview of Arnold, his nice path tracer.

R. Cook, L. Carpenter, T. Porter, Distributed ray tracing. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 84, Computer Graphics, 1984. ([ 0&key2=6122820201&coll=portal&dl=ACM&CFID=2476665&CFTOKEN=16459034 acm])

  • I assigned this paper earlier, but you may want to look at it again.


J. Arvo, Backward ray tracing, In Developments in Ray Tracing, SIGGRAPH `86 Course Notes, August 1986. (ps)

  • Early description of light ray tracing, originally called "Backward" ray tracing.

E. LaFortune, Y. Willems, Bi-directional path tracing, Proceedings of Compugraphics '93, Alvor, Portugal (December '93), pp. 145-153. (ps.gz)

E. Veach, L. Guibas, Bidirectional estimators for light transport, Eurographics Rendering Workshop 1994 Proceedings (Darmstadt, Germany, June 1994), pp. 147-162. (url)

Irradiance Caching and Photons Maps

G. Ward, F. Rubinstein and R. Clear, A ray tracing solution for diffuse interreflection, SIGGRAPH '88, pp. 85-92, 1988. (Paper Page)

H. W. Jensen, Global illumination using photon maps, In Rendering Techniques '96, pp. 21-30, 1996. (Paper Page)


Henrik Wann Jensen, Realistic Image Synthesis Using Photon Mapping A. K. Peters, 2001.

H. Rushmeier and G. Ward, Energy preserving non-linear filters, SIGGRAPH '94, pp. 131-138, 1994. (Paper Page)

Participating Media and Volume Rendering

M. Levoy, Display of surfaces from volume data, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Vol. 8, No. 3, May, 1988, pp. 29-37. (ieee)

N. Max, Optical models for direct volume rendering, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 1(2), June 1995, pp. 97 - 108. (pdf)


J. Kajiya and B. Von Herzen, Ray tracing volume densities, Computer Graphics, 18(3), July 1984, pp. 165-174. (acm)

R. Drebin, L. Carpenter, P. Hanrahan, Volume rendering, Computer Graphics, 18(3), July 1984, pp. 65-74. (acm)

K. Perlin, E. Hoffert, Hypertexture, Computer Graphics (Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Conference), 23(3), pp. 253-262, (acm)

Reflection Models III: Anisotropic and Translucent Materials

J. Kajiya and T. Kay, Rendering fur with three dimensional textures, Computer Graphics, 23(3) pp. 271-280, 1989. (acm)

S. Marschner, H. W. Jensen, M. Cammarano, S. Worley, P. Hanrahan, Light scattering from human hair fibers, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2003, (pdf)

H. W. Jensen, S. R. Marschner, M. Levoy, P. Hanrahan, A practical model for subsurface light transport, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2001, (pdf)


R. Lu, J. Koenderink, A. Kappers, Specularities on surfaces with tangential hairs or grooves, IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision, pp. 2-7, 1999. (pdf)