Guys, y’all gotta check this book out. I got it yesterday from a trade show in London.
“Physically Based Rendering” by Matt Phar and Greg Humphreys (publ. Morgan Kaufmann)
Have a look at the website: www.pbrt.org
(They’ve got the appropriate links to Amazon etc. on their site).
I’ve only read the first 50 pages or so, but from what I’ve seen, anyone who’s even slightly serious about writing their own renderer should get this book NOW! It covers pretty much everything in a standard ray tracer and more, i.e. Photon Mapping, Monte Carlo, sampling theory, scattering, volumetrics, texturing, BRDF models, DOF, etc. But it also includes the code for the pbrt (physically based ray tracer) renderer that implements all of these techniques and the book takes you through the code step by step, which means that you get to see all the little details that go into actually producing the final working renderer.
It also has a plugin API which means that you can easily add your own modules into all sorts of areas of the architecture. Apparently they’ve been using this software to teach the students at Stanford Uni, cause it means they can jump right in and get their hands dirty without having to write all the basic (boring) stuff to do with loading and saving files etc. The code works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
(and no, I’m not being paid for this advert… trust me, this book is good)
Unfortunately, as you read the cgtalk thread, you’ll find out that the attached picture is one of the few NOT rendered with the book’s renderer… ie the book’s renderer does NOT do SubSurfaceScattering (only Volume)
Still,looks like a GREAT addition for anyones bookshelf…