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Direct illumination and radiosity

Radiosity is a global illumination algorithm used in 3D computer graphics rendering. Radiosity is an application of the finite element method to solving the rendering equation for scenes with purely diffuse surfaces. Unlike Monte Carlo algorithms (such as path tracing) which handle all types of light paths, typical radiosity methods only account for paths of the form LD*E, i.e., paths which leave a light source and are reflected diffusely some number of times (possibly zero) before hitting the eye.

Radiosity methods were first developed in about 1950 in the engineering field of heat transfer. They were later refined specifically for application to the problem of rendering computer graphics in 1984 by researchers at Cornell University. Find out more...