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Real-Time Local Reflections

RLR Screen Space Reflections Real Time Local Reflections
4: Adsense

Real-Time Local Reflections
  • Fade at screen edges
  • Fade when reflection vector is facing the viewer
  • Errors where there is no data available
  • Real-Time Local Reflections

I've been experimenting a little bit with Real-Time Local Reflections (RLR) (or Screen Space Reflections).
With this technique you ray trace in screen space to approximate local reflections.

Posted Image


As you can see my current implementation is far from perfect. And slow as hell on my laptop with a NVIDIA GT 435M Posted Image (5 fps or 172 ms).
The video above was generated on a NVIDIA GTX 470 at 50-60 fps. Posted Image


My Implementation

I hope the shader shown below is pretty self-explanatory Posted Image
First I calculate the reflection vector in view space. Then I transform it into screen space and I start to ray march according to the view space reflection vector until the depth in the sampled depth buffer is bigger than our current depth of our ray.

Currently I render the scene twice (the 1st time without the reflections, the 2nd time with). In this way I can use the depth buffer of the 1st pass for my reflections in the 2nd one. But of course with a deferred renderer you can use the depth buffer from your G-buffer and sample the reflected pixel color from the previous frame.

// Calculate View Space Reflection Vector!
  float3 vspReflect = reflect(normalize(Input.ViewPos),  normalize(Input.ViewNormal));

  // Normalize, in this way we only need to check the .z component
  // to know how hard the reflection vector is facing the viewer
  vspReflect = normalize(vspReflect);

  // If the view space reflection vector is facing to hard to the viewer
  // then there is a high chance there is no available data!
  if (vspReflect.z > g_rlrOptions.y)

   // We want to smoothly fade out the reflection when facing the viewer.
   // Calculate this factor ...
   float rcpfadefact = rcp(1.0 - g_rlrOptions.y /* minimum .z value of reflection */ );
   float faceviewerfactor = (vspReflect.z - g_rlrOptions.y) * rcpfadefact;

   // Transform the View Space Reflection to Screen Space
   // This because we want to ray march in to the depth buffer in Screen Space (thus you can use the default hardware depthbuffer)
   // Depth is linear in Screen Space per Screen Pixel
   float3 vspPosReflect = Input.ViewPos +  vspReflect;
   float3 sspPosReflect = mul(float4(vspPosReflect, 1.0), g_mProj).xyz / vspPosReflect.z;
   float3 sspReflect = sspPosReflect - Input.ScreenPos;

   // Resize Screen Space Reflection to an appropriate length.
   // We want to catch each pixel of the screen
   float scalefactor =								
	g_rlrOptions2.y /* size of 1 pixel in screen space (I took this in the width (2/1280) because the width is almost always bigger than the height */
	/ length(sspReflect.xy);
   scalefactor *= g_rlrOptions.x /* how many pixels at once (value = 1) */;
   sspReflect *= scalefactor;

   // Initial offsets
   // .xy for Screen Space is in the range of -1 to 1. But we want to sample from
   // a texture, thus we want to convert this to 0 to 1.
   float3 vCurrOffset = Input.ScreenPos + sspReflect ;
   vCurrOffset.xy = float2(vCurrOffset.x * 0.5 + 0.5,vCurrOffset.y * -0.5 + 0.5);
   float3 vLastOffset = Input.ScreenPos;
   vLastOffset.xy = float2(vLastOffset.x * 0.5 + 0.5,vLastOffset.y * -0.5 + 0.5);
   sspReflect = float3(sspReflect.x * 0.5 ,sspReflect.y * -0.5, sspReflect.z);

   // Number of samples
   int nNumSamples = (int)(g_rlrOptions2.x /* width of backbuffer (e.g. 1280) */ / g_rlrOptions.x) /* how many pixels at once (usualy 1) */;
   int nCurrSample = 0;
   // Calculate the number of samples to the edge! (min and maximum are 0 to 1)
#ifndef DEBUGRLR
   float3 samplestoedge = ((sign(sspReflect.xyz) * 0.5 + 0.5) - vCurrOffset.xyz) / sspReflect.xyz;
   samplestoedge.x = min(samplestoedge.x, min(samplestoedge.y, samplestoedge.z));
   nNumSamples = min(nNumSamples, (int)samplestoedge.x);
   float3 vFinalResult;
   float vCurrSample;

   float2 dx, dy;
   dx = ddx( vCurrOffset.xy );
   dy = ddy( vCurrOffset.xy );
   while (nCurrSample < nNumSamples)

	// Sample from depth buffer
	vCurrSample = txPrevFrameDepth.SampleGrad(g_samParaboloid, vCurrOffset.xy, dx, dy).x;
	if (vCurrSample < vCurrOffset.z)

	 // Calculate final offset
	 vLastOffset.xy = vLastOffset.xy + (vCurrSample - vLastOffset.z) * sspReflect.xy;

	 // Get Color
	 vFinalResult = txPrevFrameDiffuse.SampleGrad(g_samParaboloid, vLastOffset.xy, dx, dy).xyz;
	 const float blendfact = 0.6;
	 float2 factors = float2(blendfact, blendfact);
	 // Fade to viewer factor
	 factors.x = (1.0 - faceviewerfactor);
	 // Fade out reflection samples at screen edges
	 float screendedgefact = saturate(distance(vLastOffset.xy , float2(0.5, 0.5)) * 2.0);
	 factors.y = screendedgefact;

	 // Blend
	 fvTotalDiffuse.xyz = lerp(vFinalResult, fvTotalDiffuse, max(max(factors.x /* linear curve */,  factors.y * factors.y /* x^2 curve */), blendfact));
	 nCurrSample = nNumSamples + 1;
	 vLastOffset = vCurrOffset;
	 vCurrOffset += sspReflect;	

	// Debugging....
	if ((vCurrOffset.z < 0.0) || (vCurrOffset.z > 1.0) )
	 // Debug: Show blue color
	 vFinalResult = float3(0.0, 0.0 ,1.0);
	 fvTotalDiffuse = float3(0.0, 0.0, 1.0);
	 nCurrSample = nNumSamples + 1;

	else if ( (vCurrOffset.x < 0.0) || (vCurrOffset.x > 1.0) || (vCurrOffset.y < 0.0) || (vCurrOffset.y > 1.0))
	 // Debug: Show red color
	 fvTotalDiffuse = float3(1.0, 0.0, 0.0);
	 nCurrSample = nNumSamples + 1;


As you can see my implementation contains 2 techniques, as mentioned in the Crytek presentation, in order to hide broken reflections.
  • Smoothly fade out if the reflection vector faces viewer as no data is available
  • Smoothly fade out reflection samples at screen edges
They also mention that they add jitering tot hide noticeable step artifacts. I did not implement this.

Fade out when reflection vector faces viewer

Posted Image

Fade out when reflection samples reach screen border

Posted Image

Remaining problems

Currently the biggest problem that I still have is for the areas where there is no information (see screen shot below).
I'm thinking to experiment with comparing the depth of the neighboring pixels of the reflection intersection point in screen space.
If the difference is too big, fade away or something like that … not sure yet. But that will be for a next blog post.

Posted Image

So tips, comments and ideas are very welcome!

You can download the executable of the test project here:Attached File  RealTimeLocalReflections_LitheonJan2012.rar (2.36MB)
downloads: 2255. (z=forward, s=backward, q=left, d=right (i'll adapt this later for qwerty))
But you will need a DirectX 11 video card (I've got feature level 11 enabled).

Jan 29 2012 04:43 PM
WOW! I love the concept, pity its slow.
Apr 05 2012 10:47 PM

"Then I transform it into screen space and I start to ray march according to the view space reflection vector until the depth in the sampled depth buffer is bigger than our current depth of our ray"

Is stopping at (viewport.z > sample ray.z) or (when sample ray is no longer occluded) necessarily correct?

Imagine 3 spheres

1 2 3

o o o

z=4 z = 2 z = 3

And the reflection ray starts at 3 and goes towards 1. You will hit a pixel occupied by 2... and callit quits.

I currently

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