Focus on Photon Mapping (Premier Press Game Development) Paperback – 4 Feb 2003
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The example code is somewhat useless as it deals only with very basic photon mapping. None of the useful techniques are even mentioned, such as using shadow photons, building caustic maps, final gathering, or irradiance caching.
Readers will probably learn just as much from any one of the dozens of free web pages that can be found by searching the Internet for "photon mapping." I wish I could have my money back.
Photon mapping is a technique for generating realistic lighting phenomenon, such as diffuse effects, caustics, and soft shadows, efficiently. This book teaches methods that are not only incorrect, but no better than standard, low quality lighting techniques. People who are serious about implementing photon mapping should invest their money in a book that actually teaches the background and methods necessary to understand the technique, not one that blindly tries to pass off sub-standard results as the product of a realistic method.
E.g. One of the most important steps in creating good quality images using photon mapping is "final gathering". The author does not even mention this technique.
Furthermore, if you follow the methods the author describes you will create images that are simply wrong!
He correctly claims that photon mapping can create truely photorealistic images, but nevertheless the most advanced images he presents are ones of a couple of spheres and boxes - which are incorrectly rendered.
There is another really good book on photon mapping - which I recomend buying instead.
If you know about photon mapping you may get a good laugh when you read the author's misinterpretion of photon mapping.
On to review:
The book has a few typos, but only two or three that really caught my attention. What I found worse however, is the author tends to restate something in two consecutive sentences - or write a long, convoluted sentence where even I could come up with something short and clear. This was annoying, but sufferable. Overall this book could have used a more attentive, hands-on editor... perhaps another day.
That aside, the book provides an practical introduction to photon mapping from the basic level - that is, he covers it's raytracing foundation, super-basic electromagnetic theory, basic scene-graph management, and some similar topics. He then covers the basics of photon mapping itself - what photons are, and how you use them to generate images. This is more of a "practices" book than a "principles" book though, which is good for folks like me who barely remember attending high-school calculus.
Again, these things are great for people who don't know much about computer graphics, but perhaps not so much for those already in-the-know. Sorry guys, but you've already got text by Mr. Jensen himself. :-)
That said, the book certainly leaves a lot for you to discover like others have discussed. You won't be competing with Mental Ray, Brazil or Photorealistic Renderman with just this book. :-)
Given that it doesn't have much depth on the subject and the fact it spends so much time on the basics, I'd have to recommend this only to people with little experience with computer graphics and then probably as a used purchase.
I give it three stars because despite it's problems, I actually did learn a bit from it.
It is about how to write a basic Raytracer, and most (if not all) of the info. is available for free on the web ([...])
This is just another Andre' LaMothe(Series Editor of Premier Press's Game Development Series and old-scool 3d guru)-highschool-genius, who has red some (online) tutorial(s) and is ready to write a book.
sorry for ma Eng.
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