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OpenGL Ideas for a seminar in computer graphics

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Hi everybody.

I'm about to enroll in an "Advanced seminar in computer graphics" as part of my MSc degree in computer science.

I'm relatively new to computer graphics, I'm currently in the middle of taking a basic computer graphics course and I've been studying OpenGL in my spare time.

In order to enroll for this seminar I will need to choose my topic in advance and since the course's instructor wasn't too helpful in helping me find a topic I decided to come here for help.

As the instructor told me I can choose either a theoretical project which means writing a 40 page long paper on some topic on I can choose a more practical project which means I will have to write a 20 page long paper + a code project.

I'm leaning toward the second option but I don't have a clue on which subjects are feasible for me in a time frame of about 2 months.

The basic idea is to do something game related, the first ideas I had was to tackle some problem games have in terms of real time calculation and discuss some of the solutions that are done in games today.

So I thought about maybe doing something about lighting\ray tracing/global illuminations or maybe about shadow calculation in real time.

My problem is that its really hard for me to estimate if a subject is too small or too big for such projects.

 

I would really appreciate it if you guys can give me some advice on choosing the right topic, it doesn't have to do with the list of topics I presented, I would also really love to hear new ideas for projects I can take, it can also be VR related except that I won't have the VR headset to show it off.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Amit Ofer

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Two months is not a lot of time, especially since you (presumably?) won't be working full time on it.

 

Anyways, here are two programming heavy ideas from the top of my head:

 

Global Illumination is kinda hard, especially given your limited time frame and experience. However, this comes to mind:

http://codeflow.org/entries/2012/aug/25/webgl-deferred-irradiance-volumes/

It is a neat approach that might be feasible in the two months if you push yourself a bit. There seems to be code if you get stuck and you might be able to come up with some creative improvement.

 

Another idea I always wanted to implement that involves light, although in an unusual way, would be a content creation tool that helps with texturing models. Usually, triangle meshes are unwrapped and then the textures are painted directly. You could create a tool where instead of directly painting the final texture(s), you set up a couple of projectors around the object, like spot lights which project an image (hence the need for light and shadows). The artists would then paint the images of those projectors and the final model textures would be baked by your tool. To some degree this is already supported in the major modelling packages but you could enhance it by allowing projectors to mix and combine colors so that reusable dirt or rust decals can be added on top. You could also allow the projectors to not only affect the color textures, but also the textures for the other material parameters.

The downside is that such a tool can be rather GUI heavy. The upside is that you can easily "scale" the project according to your progress. Eg start with a purely non-gui application that reads the projector positions and mesh from a blender export, displays a preview, and performs the bake. Then add features like GUI, different projector types, etc until the two months are over.

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For "practical" there is stuff like terrain rendering, which involves more of how to manage all that geometry dynamically, plenty of methods to research from.

 

Also volumetric effects such as light, fire, smoke, etc, or ocean rendering.

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I like the volumetric effects and terrain rendering ideas.

What do you think about shadow calculation in games? is it too hard of a subject?

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Maybe something about management of levels of detail... This is relevant to almost any area of computer graphics (whatever you draw, you can draw at many distances from the viewer) so you can set the scope pretty freely.

 

Things like having different LoD levels for meshes, tessellation, impostors, procedural generation, texture resolution/mipmapping...

Practically: Terrain LoD, rendering planets all the way from space to surface, keeping shadows just the right quality...

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I took a graphics seminar in college where we basically spent ten weeks building a software raytracer.  That could be interesting if you went down the physically-based rendering route, maybe path tracing.  I had quite a bit of fun doing Monte Carlo soft shadows, depth-of-field effects and caustics.

 

Deferred shading could also be interesting, although it might be harder to stretch that into a 20 page paper.

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