Self Shadow

SIGGRAPH 2013 Course: Physically Based Shading in Theory and Practice

© Disney/Pixar 2013.

© Disney/Pixar 2013.

Course Description

Physically based shading is increasingly important in both film and game production. By adhering to physically based, energy-conserving shading models, one can easily create high-quality, realistic materials that maintain their quality in a variety of lighting environments. Traditional ad hoc models have required extensive tweaking to achieve the same result, so it’s no surprise that physically based models have increased in popularity, particularly because they are often no more difficult to implement or evaluate. Since last year’s course (Practical Physically Based Shading in Film and Game Production, SIGGRAPH 2012), many advances have been made in this field, and once again game and film studios present their latest research and production-proven techniques.


09:00 Introduction (Stephen Hill)
09:05 Background: Physics and Math of Shading (Naty Hoffman) [slides] [course notes] [notebook: mathematica, pdf]
09:20 Getting More Physical in Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Dimitar Lazarov) [slides: ppt, pdf] [course notes] [notebook]
09:40 Real Shading in Unreal Engine 4 (Brian Karis) [slides: ppt, pdf] [course notes]
10:00 Crafting a Next-Gen Material Pipeline for The Order: 1886 (David Neubelt & Matt Pettineo) [slides: ppt, pdf] [course notes] [video] [code]
10:30 Break
10:45 Everything You Always Wanted to Know About mia_material (Zap Andersson) [slides: ppt, pdf] [course notes]
11:10 OSL The Great and Powerful (Adam Martinez) [slides]
11:35 Physically Based Shading at Pixar (Christophe Hery & Ryusuke Villemin) [slides] [course notes]


Note: please direct any corrections or general questions to: s2013course <at> selfshadow <dot> com.


Stephen Hill is a 3D Technical Lead at Ubisoft Montreal, where his current focus is on physically based methodologies. He previously held this role on Splinter Cell Conviction, where he helped steer development of the renderer over the entire (five year) development period. During that time, he developed novel systems for dynamic ambient occlusion and visibility.

Stephen McAuley is a senior 3D programmer at Ubisoft Montreal, recently shipping Far Cry 3, where he spearheaded the switch to physically based lighting and materials. Previously he spent five years at Bizarre Creations, where he worked on games such as Blood Stone, Blur and Project Gotham Racing, focusing on rendering architecture, physically based shading and deferred lighting.


Håkan “Zap” Andersson is a rendering developer at Autodesk. He previously worked at mental images—where his official title was “Shader Wizard”—and created many of the most commonly used mental ray shaders in existence today. Zap is a native of Sweden, with an engineering degree in electronics and a CAD industry background. He wrote his first renderer around 1986 for the Swedish ABC80 computer, with a graphics card he hand-wired himself.

Christophe Hery joined Pixar in June 2010, where he holds the position of Senior Scientist. He wrote new lighting models and rendering methods for Monsters University and The Blue Umbrella, and continues to spearhead research in the rendering arena. An alumnus of Industrial Light & Magic, Christophe previously served as a research and development lead, supporting the facility’s shaders and providing rendering guidance. He was first hired by ILM in 1993 as a senior technical director. During his career at ILM, he received two Technical Achievement Awards from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

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).

Brian Karis is a Senior Graphics Programmer at Epic Games, where he works on the renderer for Unreal Engine 4. Prior to joining Epic in 2012, he was employed at Human Head Studios and created the renderer for Prey 2, focusing on systems for virtual texturing, lighting and visibility.

Dimitar Lazarov is the Lead Graphics Engineer at Treyarch, where he worked on the Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Black Ops II titles. He has over a decade of experience in game development and has contributed to a diverse portfolio of games, ranging from kids friendly titles such as Casper Spirit Dimensions and Kung Fu Panda, to action blockbusters such as Medal of Honor: European Assault, True Crime: New York City and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Dimitar’s main expertise is graphics programming and performance optimizations, and he is often involved in system and core engineering, tools programming and other areas that need his attention to detail.

Adam Martinez is a Shader Writer for Sony Pictures Imageworks and a member of the Shading Department, which oversees all aspects of shader writing and production rendering at Imageworks. He is a pipeline developer, look development artist, and technical support liaison for productions at the studio. He was also one of the primary architects of Imageworks’ rendering strategy behind 2012 and Alice In Wonderland.

David Neubelt has served as a Lead Graphics and Engine programmer at Ready At Dawn Studios since 2005, where he has shipped multiple PSP God of War titles, Daxter, and God Of War: Origins Collection for PS3. Most recently, he has helped shape their next-generation engine from its inception, contributing in many areas, including the development of production BRDFs and their 3D material scanning pipeline.

Matt Pettineo is a Lead Graphics and Engine programmer at Ready At Dawn Studios, where he has worked since 2009, helping to develop a physically based shading model and material authoring pipeline for use in their upcoming title. He also focuses on hardware development and optimization for next-generation consoles.

Ryusuke Villemin began his career at BUF Compagnie in 2001, where he co-developed BUF’s inhouse raytracing renderer. He later moved to Japan at Square-Enix as a rendering lead to develop a full package of physically based shaders and lights for mental ray. After working freelance for several Japanese studios, he joined Pixar in 2011 as a TD.