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jfclavette

Comments on "Focus on Photon Mapping?"

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I looked through it a couple of days ago. It looks like a good book, it goes over raytracing and radiosity at first, and then it goes into the details and photon mapping and optimization and quality improvement techniques. Henrik Wann Jensen''s (the creator of Photon mapping) book is probably better, although I haven''t looked at it. Like all the books in the Primier Press series, it is probably written in a more straightforward, web tutorial style as opposed to the math and theory heavy academic style that Henrik''s book is probably written in (although I heard his book is a lot more straightforward and practical than his papers). You should look at both of them and decide which one is best for you, personally I think the Henrik book will probably be better.

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I have read and strongly recommend Jensen''s book. It is a little heavy on the math theory, but once you get through that, you will understand the algorithm (and the global illumination problem in general) in a lot of depth. Definitely the best graphics book I''ve read (although admittedly I haven''t read that many).

"Math is hard" -Barbie

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I own both Focus on Photon Mapping and Jensen''s Realistic Image Synthesis Using Photon Mapping. If I could I would return Focus on Photon Mapping and get my $30 back.

It contains little more useful information than what you can find on the internet in 5 minutes, and the code is atrociously buggy. I tried to implement my own algorithm using the sample code and wasted a good 14 hours fixing annoyingly small bugs, only to find that at the core the algorithm wasn''t accurate.

The book is very sketchy at best, containing 2/3 useless material and only a tiny overview of photon mapping itself. Furthermore, very important topics such as shadow photons, irradiance caching, final gathering, and multiple photon maps were entirely ignored.

The sample images should be a good warning of how pathetic the book is; they consist of a pair of spheres with (incorrect) diffuse interreflection, and a table/chair scene with incorrect lighting.


Conversely, Jensen''s book contains not only the practical application of photon mapping, but explains very simply how and why the technique works. The math is not hard to understand with just a little bit of careful thinking, and knowing the underlying math helps greatly in implementing the algorithm successfully. I was able to get a working photon mapping system using the sample code chapter at the end of his book in under 3 hours. I haven''t yet added irradiance caching or shadow photons (my two big items on the to-do list) but they should come into place very easily.


Summary: save your cash and buy Jensen''s book instead. You will certainly regret buying this worthless dime novel when you realize you can get better information for free using Google.

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I have Jensen''s book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the topic. It''s a full approach, from the basics to advanced features. Yes, there is some math, but how could you possibly understand a global illumination technique without using math at all ? The math is not very complex either, and makes implementations pretty straightforward. Very good book.

On the other hand, I haven''t read the "Focus on" book, so I can''t really comment on it.

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