Analytic Spectral Integration of Birefringence-Induced Iridescence

Steinberg, S.

Computer Graphics Forum (Proceedings of the Eurographics Symposium on Rendering, 2019)
Publication date: July 30, 2019

doi: 10.1111/cgf.13774


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Optical phenomena that are only observable in optically anisotropic materials are generally ignored in the computer graphics. However, such optical effects are not restricted to exotic materials and can also be observed with common translucent objects when optical anisotropy is induced, e.g. via mechanical stress. Furthermore accurate prediction and reproduction of those optical effects has important practical applications. We provide a short but complete analysis of the relevant electromagnetic theory of light propagation in optically anisotropic media and derive the full set of formulations required to render birefringent materials. We then present a novel method for spectral integration of refraction and reflection in an anisotropic slab. Our approach allows fast and robust rendering of birefringence-induced iridescence in a physically faithful manner and is applicable to both real-time and offline rendering.

Presented at EGSR 2019