We present a new method for efficiently simulating the scattering of light within participating media. Using a theoretical reformulation of volumetric photon mapping, we develop a novel photon gathering technique for participating media. Traditional volumetric photon mapping samples the in-scattered radiance at numerous points along the length of a single ray by performing costly range queries within the photon map. Our technique replaces these multiple point-queries with a single beam-query, which explicitly gathers all photons along the length of an entire ray. These photons are used to estimate the accumulated in-scattered radiance arriving from a particular direction and need to be gathered only once per ray. Our method handles both fixed and adaptive kernels, is faster than regular volumetric photon mapping, and produces images with less noise.
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