Soft Shadows

Michael Herf & Paul Heckbert

I spent some time (with Paul Heckbert) at CMU trying to make soft shadows fast. This page contains articles and resources about that. The first one has not been previously published.

Here's the list of papers:

Efficient Generation of Soft Shadow Textures, Michael Herf, CMU-CS-97-138, CS Dept, Carnegie Mellon U., May 1997, [pdf]. This paper (my senior thesis) describes what I think is the fastest way to make "lightmaps" for polygons from area lights.

Simulating Soft Shadows with Graphics Hardware, Paul Heckbert and Michael Herf, CMU-CS-97-104, CS Dept, Carnegie Mellon U., Jan. 1997, b&w pages, color plate page. This one is our original hardware implementation, which isn't practical until there are cheap accumulation buffers.

Fast Soft Shadows, Michael Herf and Paul Heckbert, Technical Sketch, New Orleans, Aug. 1996, SIGGRAPH '96 Visual Proceedings, p. 145. Paper (one page).

Slides and the "shadow cookbook" handout from my Siggraph '96 tech sketch. Talk of software implementation is better handled in tr-138.

This is an overview of the hardware paper above, with some, uh, "sketchy" ideas about how to do the software implementation that became the first paper above. This is a good introduction to the cool projective math that Paul came up with to solve this problem.

Paul Heckbert's shadow resources page. Contains links to our earlier hardware paper, many other techniques.

Some screenshots from the shadow software, the hardware version. Apologies for edge antialiasing -- these were realtime shots.
stool, fern, table
chair, frank lloyd wright table