Neural Relightable Participating Media Rendering

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Quan Zheng, Gurprit Singh, Hans-peter Seidel


Learning neural radiance fields of a scene has recently allowed realistic novel view synthesis of the scene, but they are limited to synthesize images under the original fixed lighting condition. Therefore, they are not flexible for the eagerly desired tasks like relighting, scene editing and scene composition. To tackle this problem, several recent methods propose to disentangle reflectance and illumination from the radiance field. These methods can cope with solid objects with opaque surfaces but participating media are neglected. Also, they take into account only direct illumination or at most one-bounce indirect illumination, thus suffer from energy loss due to ignoring the high-order indirect illumination. We propose to learn neural representations for participating media with a complete simulation of global illumination. We estimate direct illumination via ray tracing and compute indirect illumination with spherical harmonics. Our approach avoids computing the lengthy indirect bounces and does not suffer from energy loss. Our experiments on multiple scenes show that our approach achieves superior visual quality and numerical performance compared to state-of-the-art methods, and it can generalize to deal with solid objects with opaque surfaces as well.