December 16, 2008
We are interested in implementing the ideas in the paper "Creation and Rendering of Realistic Trees" by Jason Weber and Jospeh Penn. This paper explains the attributes and algorithms necessary to produce realistic looking trees in a variety of different styles.
Usually when trees are used in computer graphics applications, particularly real time environments, the trees are two dimensional images that rotate with the camera. The affect is very unbelievable since the geometry of the tree is not captured in any way. In addition it does not allow for any advanced shading, especially when rendering leaves.
In our project, we would set the goal to be just geometry rendering. We would not plan on doing any fancy shading to mimic how light interacts with-in the materials of the trees that are generated. Things that we would include would be trunk/branch generation, pruning, and associated attributes. We would like to also include various environmental effects described in the paper such as gravity and wind-sway. We also may look into the level of detail aspects for distance rendering performance.
We may, or may not implement this with-in our ray tracer, depending upon the ease of generating the three required shapes and our desire to see it rendered in real time. The required shapes are cone for branch ends, cut-off cone for trunk and branch chunks, and a hexagon shape for leaves. Alternatively, a simple opengl implementation would be done.
The paper can be retrieved from the ACM at http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=218427