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Hello,

After attempting to implement variance shadow mapping I've run into a problem and absolutely no idea what is causing it. Here is a picture of what is going on:

The shadow seems to get lighter the closer it is to the occluder. Its very strange and the implementations / tutorials that I've looked at don't seem to have the same problem and haven't touched on how to fix it. Of course this image isn't enough, so here is the relevant code:

How I create the frame buffer for the shadow map:

frameBuffer bufferToReturn;
bufferToReturn.x = x;
bufferToReturn.y = y;

glGenFramebuffers(1, &bufferToReturn.bufferID);
glBindFramebuffer(GL_FRAMEBUFFER, bufferToReturn.bufferID);

glGenTextures(1, &bufferToReturn.texture);
glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, bufferToReturn.texture);
glTexImage2D(GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_RGBA_FLOAT32_APPLE, x, y, 0, GL_RGBA, GL_UNSIGNED_INT_8_8_8_8, 0);
else glTexImage2D(GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_R32F, x, y, 0, GL_RGBA, GL_UNSIGNED_INT_8_8_8_8, 0);
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_MIN_FILTER, GL_LINEAR);
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_MAG_FILTER, GL_LINEAR);
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_WRAP_S, GL_CLAMP_TO_EDGE);
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_WRAP_T, GL_CLAMP_TO_EDGE);

glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0);

glGenTextures(1, &bufferToReturn.depth);
glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, bufferToReturn.depth);

glTexImage2D(GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0, GL_DEPTH_COMPONENT32, x, y, 0, GL_DEPTH_COMPONENT, GL_FLOAT, NULL);
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_MAG_FILTER, GL_LINEAR);
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_MIN_FILTER, GL_LINEAR);

glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_WRAP_S, GL_CLAMP_TO_EDGE);
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_WRAP_T, GL_CLAMP_TO_EDGE);
glTexParameteri(GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_COMPARE_MODE, GL_COMPARE_R_TO_TEXTURE);

glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, 0);

glFramebufferTexture2D(GL_FRAMEBUFFER, GL_COLOR_ATTACHMENT0, GL_TEXTURE_2D, bufferToReturn.texture, 0);
glFramebufferTexture2D(GL_FRAMEBUFFER, GL_DEPTH_ATTACHMENT, GL_TEXTURE_2D, bufferToReturn.depth, 0);

glBindFramebuffer(GL_FRAMEBUFFER, 0);

return bufferToReturn;



And here is the shader code for rendering the depth. I've only rendered out the depth to attempt to be memory conservative and just compute the moments in the lighting shader.

varying vec4 position;

void main()
{

//get the depth
float depth = position.z/position.w;

gl_FragColor = vec4(depth, 0.0, 0.0, 1.0);
}


Lastly the lighting code, at least the parts of it that deal with shadow.

uniform sampler2D positionMap;
uniform sampler2D normalMap;
uniform sampler2D albedoMap;

varying vec2 texcoord;

float chebyshevUpperBound(vec3 coord)
{
vec2 moments = vec2(depth,depth*depth);

//if we are closer than the depth map, we are lit
if (coord.z <= moments.x)
return 1.0;

float variance = moments.y - (moments.x*moments.x);
variance = max(variance,0.0005);

float momentdistance = coord.z - moments.x;
float p_max = variance / (variance + momentdistance*momentdistance);

return p_max;
}

void main()
{
//get all the G-buffer information
vec3 normal = normalize(texture2D(normalMap,texcoord)).rgb;
vec4 color = (texture2D(albedoMap,texcoord));
vec3 position = (texture2D(positionMap,texcoord)).rgb;

lightPosition /= lightPosition.w;

}



Any input is greatly appreciated and hopefully may be able to help anybody else in the future with the same problem.

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Whilst I have little immediate experience on the subject, we had VSM shadows implemented recently, and a similar effect was observed.
The developer who implemented speculated (in passing) that the intensity of the light source was influencing the shadow

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Whilst I have little immediate experience on the subject, we had VSM shadows implemented recently, and a similar effect was observed.
The developer who implemented speculated (in passing) that the intensity of the light source was influencing the shadow

Thanks for the link. While it was useful, I've modified the shader so the diffuse is not used and the same thing occurs, so that can't be it.

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The problem is the way variance shadow mapping determines shadow/light per pixel. It takes the difference between the (linear depth)^2 and the depth^2, and the greater the distance, the greater the shadowing term, but when they get close together (which is what happens when the shadow approaches the occluder) the shadowing term gets lower.

I also noticed you are getting the shadow map depth data incorrectly. You need to store both linear and squared depth in the depth map in separate channels. Then you can sample them both instead of 'vec2(depth,depth*depth)'. This means that the depth and depth2 values will be linearly sampled and that depth * depth != depth2 for most cases. This is a key point for variance shadow mapping because it allows you to apply a blur to the shadow map and get nice smooth shadows as a result instead of the square edges you have shown.

As it stands in your code, if we simplify it you get

float variance = moments.y - (moments.x * moments.x);


which is the same as

float variance = moments.y - moments.y; // ( = 0) this is why you sample both moments.x and moments.y from a depthmap
variance = max(variance, 0.0005); // ( = 0.0005)


and finally

float p_max = variance / (variance + momentdistance*momentdistance);


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The problem is the way variance shadow mapping determines shadow/light per pixel. It takes the difference between the (linear depth)^2 and the depth^2, and the greater the distance, the greater the shadowing term, but when they get close together (which is what happens when the shadow approaches the occluder) the shadowing term gets lower.

I also noticed you are getting the shadow map depth data incorrectly. You need to store both linear and squared depth in the depth map in separate channels. Then you can sample them both instead of 'vec2(depth,depth*depth)'. This means that the depth and depth2 values will be linearly sampled and that depth * depth != depth2 for most cases. This is a key point for variance shadow mapping because it allows you to apply a blur to the shadow map and get nice smooth shadows as a result instead of the square edges you have shown.

As it stands in your code, if we simplify it you get

float variance = moments.y - (moments.x * moments.x);


which is the same as

float variance = moments.y - moments.y; // ( = 0) this is why you sample both moments.x and moments.y from a depthmap
variance = max(variance, 0.0005); // ( = 0.0005)


and finally

float p_max = variance / (variance + momentdistance*momentdistance);


Alright, So I've changed the code and something happened, but the problem I am trying to solve is the shadowing term issue. It doesn't seem to happen on the demos that I've seen like the original paper's implementation. So the question is, how am I supported to compensate for that so all the shadows are nice and uniform.

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Okay, for the getting lighter problem, your issue is these lines:

float momentdistance = coord.z - moments.x;
float p_max = variance / (variance + momentdistance*momentdistance);


You can see that as momentdistance approaches 0, p_max will approach 1 / 1, giving you fully light pixels. One simple solution for this would be to scale momentdistance up by some set value, but, to put it simply, there will ALWAYS be this 'getting lighter' problem when using variance shadow mapping, thats part of how it determines shadowing in the first place. In most cases this wont be an issue as the object being shadowed will be thick enough that you wont notice the light section since it will be hidden by the object it self, ie. a crate.

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there will ALWAYS be this 'getting lighter' problem when using variance shadow mapping, thats part of how it determines shadowing in the first place. In most cases this wont be an issue as the object being shadowed will be thick enough that you wont notice the light section since it will be hidden by the object it self, ie. a crate.

Yeah, I think that's just the nature of the algorithm. I used to use it, but I had many thin shadow-casters, and the artifacts ended up being too noticeable to justify its use. It looks good in demos/screenshots, because the objects and such are carefully chosen to hide the artifacts :P.

Edited by phil_t

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