Enhancing Perception of Complex Sculptural Forms using Interactive Real-time Ray tracing

Lomas, Andy. 2020. 'Enhancing Perception of Complex Sculptural Forms using Interactive Real-time Ray tracing'. In: EVA London 2020. London, United Kingdom 6 – 9 July 2020. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This paper looks at experiments into using real-time ray tracing to significantly enhance shape perception of complex three-dimensional digitally created structures. The author is a computational artist whose artistic practice explores the creation of intricate organic three-dimensional forms using simulation of morphogenesis. The generated forms are often extremely detailed, comprising tens of millions of cellular primitives. This often makes depth perception of the resulting structures difficult. His practice has explored various techniques to create presentable artefacts from the data, including high resolution prints, animated videos, stereoscopic installations, 3D printing and virtual reality.

The author uses ray tracing techniques to turn the 3D data created from his morphogenetic simulations into visible artefacts. This is typically a time-consuming process, taking from seconds to minutes to create a single frame. The latest generation of graphics processing units offer dedicated hardware to accelerate ray tracing calculations. This potentially allows the generation of ray traced images, including self-shadowed complex structures and multiple levels of transparency, from new viewpoints at frame rates capable of real-time interaction. The author presents the results of his experiments using this technology with the aim of providing significantly enhanced perception of his generated three-dimensional structures by allowing user-initiated interaction to generate novel views, and utilizing depth cues such as stereopsis, depth from motion and defocus blurring.

The intention is for these techniques to be usable to present new exhibitable works in a gallery context.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Generative art, Computational art, Depth perception, Real-time interaction, Ray tracing, Graphics processing units.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



6 April 2020Accepted
9 July 2020Published

Event Location:

London, United Kingdom

Date range:

6 – 9 July 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

20 Apr 2020 11:21

Last Modified:

30 Mar 2021 16:01



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