The quality of computer rendering and perception of realism greatly depend on the shading method used to implement the interaction of light with the surfaces of objects in a scene. Ambient occlusion (AO) enhances the realistic impression of rendered objects and scenes. Properties that make Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) interesting for real-time graphics are scene complexity independence, and support for fully dynamic scenes. However, there are also important issues with current approaches: poor texture cache use, introduction of noise, and performance swings. In this paper, a straightforward solution is presented. Instead of a traditional, geometry-based sampling method, a novel, image-based sampling method is developed, coupled with a revised heuristic function for computing occlusion. Proposed algorithm harnessing GPU power improves texture cache use and reduces aliasing artifacts. Two implementations are developed, traditional and novel, and their comparison reveals improved performance and quality of the proposed algorithm.
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