Paper Exercise: An Efficient Representation for Irradiance Environment Maps

As part of our Core team internal training, Mike Day (Sr Engine Programmer, working on our Render team) has been guiding small groups of other engine programmers (specifically those NOT on the render team) to read an academic paper and assist them with whatever background is necessary so that they can explain it. With any specialized discipline, there is a lot of domain knowledge presumed in the explaination of an idea and helping others pick up that background is part of the goal of this exercise. Academic papers in particular also tend to be extremely hard to parse, unnecessarily verbose and missing details crucial for replicating results. Filling those gaps is another goal. Finally, getting folks that don’t normally work together every day to discuss ideas which interest them but does not have an immediate impact on their work has real value.

In this installment, Mike picked the 2001 paper, An Efficient Representation for Irradiance Environment Maps (PDF) by Ravi Ramamoorthi and Pat Hanrahan.

Below is the presentation from the group on their understanding of that paper.
Mike Day Paper Exercise – An Efficient Representation for Irradiance Environment Maps