Self Shadow

SIGGRAPH 2014 Course: Physically Based Shading in Theory and Practice

Course Description

Physically based shading is transforming the way we approach production rendering, and simplifying the lives of artists in the process. By adhering to physically based, energy-conserving models, one can easily create realistic materials that maintain their properties under a variety of lighting conditions. In contrast, traditional ad hoc models have required extensive tweaking to achieve the same result. Building upon previous incarnations of the course ([1], [2], [3]), we present further research and practical advice on the subject, from film and game production.


14:00 Physics and Math of Shading (Naty Hoffman) [slides]
14:20 Understanding the Masking-Shadowing Function (Eric Heitz) [slides] [course notes]
14:40 Antialiasing Physically Based Shading with LEADR Mapping (Jonathan Dupuy) [slides]
15:00 Designing Reflectance Models for New Consoles (Yoshiharu Gotanda)
15:30 Break
15:45 Moving Frostbite to PBR (Sébastien Lagarde & Charles de Rousiers) [slides: pptx, pdf]
16:15 Physically Based Shader Design in Arnold (Anders Langlands) [slides] [course notes]
16:35 Art Direction within Pixar’s Physically Based Lighting System (Ian Megibben & Farhez Rayani)


Note: please direct any corrections or general questions to: s2014course <at> selfshadow <dot> com.


Stephen Hill is a 3D Technical Lead at Ubisoft Montreal, who has recently been heavily involved in the creation of a new physically based rendering system and pipeline for Assassin’s Creed Unity. He previously held this role on Splinter Cell Conviction, during which he developed novel systems for dynamic ambient occlusion and visibility.

Stephen McAuley is a senior 3D programmer at Ubisoft Montreal, currently working on Far Cry 4. His focus is on physically based lighting and materials, having previously spearheaded the switch to physically based shading on Far Cry 3. Before Ubisoft he worked at Bizarre Creations, where he shipped games such as Blood Stone, Blur and Project Gotham Racing, and developed a system for deferred lighting on the SPUs.


Jonathan Dupuy is a French Cotutelle PhD student from the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (France), and the Université de Montréal (Canada). He is working under the joint supervision of Pierre Poulin (Université de Montréal), and Victor Ostromoukhov and Jean-Claude Iehl (Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1). His research is primarily oriented towards high quality real-time rendering, which encompasses a wide range of topics including antialiasing, level of detail, procedural generation and animation, sampling theory, and GPU/parallel programming.

Yoshiharu Gotanda is the CEO and CTO of tri-Ace, Inc. (a game development studio in Japan), and has given many presentations about physically based rendering over the years.

Eric Heitz received his MSc degree in Computer Science from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany, and an Engineering degree from Ensimag, France, in 2010. He is a PhD student in Computer Science at INRIA, France, under the supervision of Fabrice Neyret. His research interests include level-of-detail representations, local illumination, proceduralism, and physically based rendering.

Naty Hoffman is Vice President of Technology at 2K. Previously he was employed at Activision (working on graphics R&D for various titles, including the Call of Duty series), SCEA Santa Monica Studio (coding graphics technology for God of War III), Naughty Dog (developing PS3 first-party libraries), Westwood Studios (leading graphics development on Earth and Beyond) and Intel (driving Pentium pipeline modifications and assisting the SSE/SSE2 instruction set definition).

Sébastien Lagarde is a graduate software engineer who has worked in the game industry since 2003 as an engine programmer with expertise in rendering. He has worked on many consoles and many different titles, from small casual games to AAA games, such as Remember Me. He also developed the kernel of the Trioviz SDK, a stereoscopic system used in many AAA games (Batman: Arkham City and Arkham Asylum, Assassin’s Creed II, Gears of War 3, etc.). Sébastien has worked for Neko Entertainment, Darkworks, Trioviz and Dontnod. He is now working at EA, within the Frostbite team.

Anders Langlands began his career at MPC in shading and rendering R&D. There he wrote the first two and a half versions of their central shader library and developed their scene-referred lighting pipeline, trying to walk the fine line between physical accuracy and pragmatism in production. Most recently he was MPC’s VFX Supervisor on X-Men: Days of Future Past. Since then he has moved to Solid Angle where he continues to work on applying physically based practices to production challenges.

Ian Megibben, Lighting Director of Photography on Toy Story OF TERROR!, joined Pixar in 2006. Previously he was a lighting supervisor at DNA Productions. Over the past 15 years, Ian has been involved in early show setup, look development and production for several animated films.

Farhez Rayani joined Pixar as a Lighting Technical Director in 2008 and has worked on several of the studio’s feature films and shorts. In addition to lead lighting, master lighting and look development, he has also worked closely with the lighting tools team on new technologies. Previously, he worked at Rhythm & Hues, Rising Sun Pictures and CORE Feature Animation on animated and visual effects films. He has also worked as an expert user for Maya at Alias|Wavefront and for Photoshop at Adobe.

Charles de Rousiers is a software engineer in the game industry, since 2012. He received his PhD in computer graphics from INRIA in 2011 on “Representation Models for Complex Materials”. He currently works as a rendering programmer at EA, within the Frostbite team, and helped to ship several games developed with the Frostbite engine, such as Battlefield 4 and Need for Speed Rivals.