Multi-Scale Appearance Modeling of Granular Materials
with Continuously Varying Grain Properties
Cheng Zhang and Shuang Zhao
University of California, Irvine
Eurographics Symposium on Rendering (EGSR), June 2020

Many real-world materials such as sand, snow, salt, and rice are comprised of large collections of grains. Previously, multiscale rendering of granular materials requires precomputing light transport per grain and has difficulty in handling materials with continuously varying grain properties. Further, existing methods usually describe granular materials by explicitly storing individual grains, which becomes hugely data-intensive to describe large objects, or replicating small blocks of grains, which lacks the flexibility to describe materials with grains distributed in nonuniform manners.

We introduce a new method to render granular materials with continuously varying grain optical properties efficiently. This is achieved using a novel symbolic and differentiable simulation of light transport during precomputation. Additionally, we introduce a new representation to depict large-scale granular materials with complex grain distributions. After constructing a template tile as preprocessing, we adapt it at render time to generate large quantities of grains with user-specified distributions. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our techniques using a few examples with a variety of grain properties and distributions.

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Bibtex Citation
@inproceedings {Zhang:2020:Granular,
    booktitle = {Eurographics Symposium on Rendering},
    title = {Multi-Scale Appearance Modeling of Granular Materials with Continuously Varying Grain Properties},
    author = {Zhang, Cheng and Zhao, Shuang},
    year = {2020},
    publisher = {The Eurographics Association}

We thank the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and comments. This work was supported by NSF grant 1813553.

The funnel result (Figure 10) uses simulated grain data from the work by Yue et al. [2018].