This paper investigates rendering glittery surfaces, ones which exhibit shifting random patterns of glints as the surface or viewer moves. It applies both to dramatically glittery surfaces that contain mirror-like flakes and also to rough surfaces that exhibit more subtle small scale glitter, without which most glossy surfaces appear too smooth in close-up. These phenomena can in principle be simulated by high-resolution normal maps, but maps with tiny features create severe aliasing problems under narrow-angle illumination. In this paper we present a stochastic model for the effects of random subpixel structures that generates glitter and spatial noise that behave correctly under different illumination conditions and viewing distances, while also being temporally coherent so that they look right in motion. The model is based on microfacet theory, but it replaces the usual continuous microfacet distribution with a discrete distribution of scattering particles on the surface. A novel stochastic hierarchy allows efficient evaluation in the presence of large numbers of random particles, without ever having to consider the particles individually. This leads to a multiscale procedural BRDF that is readily implemented in standard rendering systems, and which converges back to the smooth case in the limit.
Discrete Stochastic Microfacet Models
Wenzel Jakob, Miloš Hašan, Ling-Qi Yan, Jason Lawrence, Ravi Ramamoorthi, Steve Marschner
To appear in ACM Transactions on Graphics (ACM SIGGRAPH 2014)