Today, I want to show what a difference normal mapping for indirect lighting can make. By using orthonormal basis functions defined on the sphere, incident lighting can be evaluated for different directions depending on the surface’s normal.
One benefit of using a true radiosity solution for indirect lighting is that self-emitting surfaces can easily be simulated. In traditional lighting pipelines, emission effects are very local only, and mostly do not contribute to the global illumination at all, if not faked otherwise. I have recently added an emissivity feature to the demo, further showing what the technology is capable of.
At last, I can show what I’ve been working on for 3 months. It’s a real-time radiosity system which dynamically updates lightmaps with bounced, diffuse indirect lighting. Without further ado, here are some screenshots and comparisons with direct lighting approaches to see what a difference indirect lighting makes (click the thumbnails for a higher resolution image, and make sure that your browser displays them correctly, e.g. Firefox is unable to cleanly show the darker .pngs, but they work perfectly in Chrome):