How to simulate light and lighting in computer graphics? How to enhance realism?

Shading (Foley 1994, 430-431):

  1. Visible surfaces of objects can be shaded to increase realism.
  2. The appearance of the surfaces depends on:
    1. types of light sources used for illuminating
    2. the properties of the object – color, texture, reflectance
    3. position of the object
    4. orientation in relation to light sources, viewer, and other surfaces
  3. Ambient light is the easiest form of light source to model, because it isn’t dependent on the position or orientation of the surfaces, but the illumination is uniform on all surfaces. Using only ambient light will result in an unrealistic image.
  4. In addition to ambient light, other light sources can be used:
    1. a point source
    2. a directional source
    3. a distributed, or extended source
  5. Shading information can be computed for each polygon vertex (this is referred to as interpolated shading). This can be used especially for curved surfaces.


Foley, James D. (1994). Introduction to computer graphics. Addison-Wesley cop.

Posted by Merja Roiko-Jokela

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