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AndyV

Textured Beam

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Hi there, I saw the Project on the NeHe site called 'Textured Beam'. This is an effect I want achieve as I am writing a stage lighting simulator. Can anyone tell me the best solution for doing this ? Is the source code available for that project ? I have tried a few ways, that are either slow of look crap. Any suggestions appreciated. Andy

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I don't know what project you're referring to, but I guess you're talking about volumetric lighting. There are many, many different ways to achieve this effect, from very simple to extremely complex.

On the very simple side, you'd just render a cone with its apex at the lightsource. Use an additive blending mode, and a pretty dark colour for the cone geometry. By changing the colour intensity, you can control how 'visible' the light beam will be. If you want to be fancy, you can use a colour gradient over the cone, simulating falloff. For even more realism, apply an additional animated noise texture onto the cone, which simulates moving dust in the light beam.

This approach works surprisingly well, as long as you don't enter the beam. For higher realism, you can choose from a variety of advanced volume visualization techniques, such as raytracing or slicing.

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I have been using a simple cone for the beam, but now as I want to project patterns ( gobos ), I want the pattern projected through the air. I have been playing with texture code, but I don't want to use a 3D texture as there is likely to be lots of lights being simulated and I worry about graphic card RAM.

Andy

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