High-Quality Surface Splatting on Today's GPUs
Because of their conceptual simplicity and superior flexibility, point-based geometries evolved into a valuable alternative to surface representations based on polygonal meshes. Elliptical surface splats were shown to allow for high-quality anti-aliased rendering by sophisticated EWA filtering. Since the publication of the original software-based EWA splatting, several authors tried to map this technique to the GPU in order to exploit hardware acceleration. Due to the lacking support for splat primitives, these methods always have to find a trade-off between rendering quality and rendering performance. In this paper, we discuss the capabilities of today's GPUs for hardware-accelerated surface splatting. We present an approach that achieves a quality comparable to the original EWA splatting at a rate of more than 20M elliptical splats per second. In contrast to previous GPU renderers, our method provides per-pixel Phong shading even for dynamically changing geometries and high-quality anti-aliasing by employing a screen-space pre-filter in addition to the object-space reconstruction filter. The use of deferred shading techniques effectively avoids unnecessary shader computations and additionally provides a clear separation between the rasterization and the shading of elliptical splats, which considerably simplifies the development of custom shaders. We demonstrate quality, efficiency, and flexibility of our approach by showing several shaders on a range of models.