Oculus Patent | Computer-Graphics Based On Hierarchical Ray Casting

Patent: Computer-Graphics Based On Hierarchical Ray Casting

Publication Number: 20190318528

Publication Date: 20191017

Applicants: Oculus


In one embodiment, a method for determine visibility may perform intersection tests using block beams, tile beams, and rays. First, a computing system may project a block beam to test for intersection with a first bounding volume (BV) in a bounding volume hierarchy. If the beam fully contains BV, the system may test for more granular intersections with the first BV by projecting smaller tile beams contained within the block beam. Upon determining that the first BV partially intersects a tile beam, the system may project the tile beam against a second BV contained within the first BV. If the tile beam fully contains the second BV, the system may test for intersection using rays contained within the tile beam. The system may project procedurally-generated rays to test whether they intersect with objects contained within the second BV. Information associated with intersections may be used to render a computer-generated scene.


[0001] This disclosure generally relates to computer graphics, and more particularly to graphics rendering methodologies and optimizations for generating artificial reality, such as virtual reality and augmented reality.


[0002] Computer graphics, in general, are visual scenes created using computers. Three-dimensional (3D) computer graphics provide users with views of 3D objects from particular viewpoints. Each object in a 3D scene (e.g., a teapot, house, person, etc.) may be defined in a 3D modeling space using primitive geometries. For example, a cylindrical object may be modeled using a cylindrical tube and top and bottom circular lids. The cylindrical tube and the circular lids may each be represented by a network or mesh of smaller polygons (e.g., triangles). Each polygon may, in turn, be stored based on the coordinates of their respective vertices in the 3D modeling space.

[0003] Even though 3D objects in computer graphics may be modeled in three dimensions, they are conventionally presented to viewers through rectangular two-dimensional (2D) displays, such as computer or television monitors. Due to limitations of the visual perception system of humans, humans expect to perceive the world from roughly the same vantage point at any instant. In other words, humans expect that certain portions of a 3D object would be visible and other portions would be hidden from view. Thus, for each 3D scene, a computer-graphics system may only need to render portions of the scene that are visible to the user and not the rest. This allows the system to drastically reduce the amount of computation needed.

[0004] Raycasting is a technique used for determining object visibility in a 3D scene. Conventionally, virtual rays are uniformly cast from a virtual pin-hole camera through every pixel of a virtual rectangular screen into the 3D world to determine what is visible (e.g., based on what portions of 3D objects the rays hit). However, this assumes that uniform ray distribution is reasonable when computing primary visibility from a virtual pinhole camera for conventional, rectangular display technologies with a limited field of view (e.g., computer monitors and phone displays). This assumption, however, does not hold for non-pinhole virtual cameras that more accurately represent real optical sensors. Moreover, current VR viewing optics (e.g., as integrated within a head-mounted display), provide a curved, non-uniform viewing surface rather than conventional rectangular displays. As a result, conventional rendering techniques, which are designed and optimized based on the aforementioned assumptions, are computationally inefficient, produce suboptimal renderings, and lack the flexibility to render scenes in artificial reality.


[0005] Particular embodiments described herein relate to a primary visibility algorithm that provides real-time performance and a feature set well suited for rendering artificial reality, such as virtual reality and augmented reality. Rather than uniformly casting individual rays for every pixel when solving the visibility problem, particular embodiments use a bounding volume hierarchy and a two-level frustum culling/entry point search algorithm to accelerate and optimize the traversal of coherent primary visibility rays. Particular embodiments utilize an adaptation of multi-sample anti-aliasing for raycasting that significantly lowers memory bandwidth.

[0006] Particular embodiments further provide the flexibility and rendering optimizations that enable a rendering engine to natively generate various graphics features while maintaining real-time performance. Such graphics features–such as lens distortion, sub-pixel rendering, very-wide field of view, foveation and stochastic depth of field blur–may be particularly desirable in the artificial reality context. The embodiments provide support for animation and physically-based shading and lighting to improve the realism of the rendered scenes. In contrast, conventional rasterization pipelines designed for conventional displays (e.g., rectangular monitors or television sets with uniform grids of pixels) are typically implemented in hardware and require multiple passes and/or post processing to approximate these features. Moreover, conventional ray tracers, which primarily focus on Monte Carlo path tracing, do not achieve real-time performance on current VR displays (e.g., with 1080.times.1200.times.2 resolution and 90 Hz refresh-rate requirements). The embodiments described herein, therefore, is particularly suitable for rendering artificial reality and present a concrete, viable alternative to conventional rasterization techniques.

[0007] Embodiments of the invention may include or be implemented in conjunction with an artificial reality system. Artificial reality is a form of reality that has been adjusted in some manner before presentation to a user, which may include, e.g., a virtual reality (VR), an augmented reality (AR), a mixed reality (MR), a hybrid reality, or some combination and/or derivatives thereof. Artificial reality content may include completely generated content or generated content combined with captured content (e.g., real-world photographs). The artificial reality content may include video, audio, haptic feedback, or some combination thereof, and any of which may be presented in a single channel or in multiple channels (such as stereo video that produces a three-dimensional effect to the viewer). Additionally, in some embodiments, artificial reality may be associated with applications, products, accessories, services, or some combination thereof, that are, e.g., used to create content in an artificial reality and/or used in (e.g., perform activities in) an artificial reality. The artificial reality system that provides the artificial reality content may be implemented on various platforms, including a head-mounted display (HMD) connected to a host computer system, a standalone HMD, a mobile device or computing system, or any other hardware platform capable of providing artificial reality content to one or more viewers.

[0008] The embodiments disclosed herein are only examples, and the scope of this disclosure is not limited to them. Particular embodiments may include all, some, or none of the components, elements, features, functions, operations, or steps of the embodiments disclosed above. Embodiments according to the invention are in particular disclosed in the attached claims directed to a method, a storage medium, a system and a computer program product, wherein any feature mentioned in one claim category, e.g. method, can be claimed in another claim category, e.g. system, as well. The dependencies or references back in the attached claims are chosen for formal reasons only. However, any subject matter resulting from a deliberate reference back to any previous claims (in particular multiple dependencies) can be claimed as well, so that any combination of claims and the features thereof are disclosed and can be claimed regardless of the dependencies chosen in the attached claims. The subject-matter which can be claimed comprises not only the combinations of features as set out in the attached claims but also any other combination of features in the claims, wherein each feature mentioned in the claims can be combined with any other feature or combination of other features in the claims. Furthermore, any of the embodiments and features described or depicted herein can be claimed in a separate claim and/or in any combination with any embodiment or feature described or depicted herein or with any of the features of the attached claims.


[0009] FIG. 1 illustrates an example of a bounding volume hierarchy tree data structure.

[0010] FIG. 2 illustrates an example three-level hierarchy for defining locations from which rays/beams are projected.

[0011] FIG. 3** illustrates an example of rays and subsample rays associated with a footprint**

[0012] FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a beam being cast through a tile.

[0013] FIG. 5 illustrates an example of a beam being cast through a block.

[0014] FIGS. 6A-C illustrate an example of a method for determining visibility.

[0015] FIG. 7 illustrates an example of a focal surface map.

[0016] FIG. 8 illustrates an example of a focal surface map and camera parameters.

[0017] FIG. 9 illustrates a method for natively generating an image with optical distortion for a VR device.

[0018] FIG. 10 illustrates an example of an importance map.

[0019] FIG. 11 illustrates an example method for generating an image based on varying multi-sample anti-aliasing.

[0020] FIG. 12 illustrates examples comparing a graphics-generation timeline without using beam racing to timelines using beach racing.

[0021] FIG. 13 illustrates an example method for generating video frames for a VR display using beam racing.

[0022] FIG. 14 illustrates an example computer system.