About a year ago I published an article on Gamasutra called Practical techniques for ray tracing in games which explained how developers can implement a series of hybrid rendering techniques on PowerVR GR6500 (our ray tracing-capable GPU) to achieve some pretty impressive effects.
Even though the target applications for ray tracing are extremely varied, this post is focused mainly on shadows. Not only does ray tracing create more accurate shadows that are free from the artifacts of shadow maps, but ray traced shadows are also up to twice as efficient; they can be generated at comparable or better quality in half the GPU cycles and with half the memory traffic (more on that later).
In what follows below, I’d like to take you through the process of implementing an efficient technique for soft shadows.
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