Ray tracing under the microcomputer
Curran, Eugene (1989) Ray tracing under the microcomputer. Master of Science thesis, Dublin City University.
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The history of computer graphics is as old, almost, as the history of computing itself. Until recently however, it had tended to be confined to the realm of the “aristocracy” of computer machines because of its requirement of their high power and speed as well as the additional cost of expensive graphics hardware. In the last number of years however, a significant reduction in the price/performance ratio of both graphics and microprocessor technology has brought computer graphics within the grasp of the of the ordinary “working class” PC (Personal Computer). The nett result of this has been an increase m the number of users of computer graphics and its areas of application.
One of these areas, that of the of generation of realistic three-dimensional images, is the subject matter of this work. More specifically, this work is concerned with a particular method of generation of such images, known as Raytracmg, which has produced some of the most realistic computer generated images to date. Unfortunately, because of a large appetite for numeric calculation, raytracmg has tended to be restricted to mainframe computers. The motivation behind this research has been to implement a raytracmg algorithm on a microcomputer and investigate its performance.
Chapter one gives a general introduction to the area of computer graphics, while chapter two outlines a description of the raytracmg algorithm, its advantages, limitations and optimizing techniques. Chapter three then goes on to discuss the apphcation of raytracmg to the area of solid modelling and sets the context for the description of the research m chapter four, which discusses the design, implementation and performance of MicroTrace, a microcomputer based raytracer. Finally, Chapter five discusses conclusions from the research and possible future enhancements to the work.
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