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Automating Lighting Design for Interactive Entertainment

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Recent advances in computer graphics, particularly in real-time rendering, have resulted in major improvements in 3D graphics and rendering techniques in interactive entertainment. In this article we focus on the scenelighting process, which we define as configuring the number of lights in a scene, their properties (e.g., range and attenuation), positions, angles, and colors. Lighting design is well known among designers, directors, and visual artists for its vital role in influencing viewers' perception by evoking moods, directing their gaze to important areas (i.e., providing visual focus), and conveying visual tension. It is, however, difficult to set positions, angles, or colors for lights within interactive scenes to accommodate these goals because an interactive scene?s spatial and dramatic configuration, including mood, dramatic intensity, and the relative importance of different characters, change unpredictably in real-time. There are several techniques developed by the game industry that establish spectacular real-time lighting effects within 3D interactive environments. These techniques are often time- and labor-intensive. In addition, they are not easily used to dynamically mold the visual design to convey communicative, dramatic, and aesthetic functions as addressed in creative disciplines such as art, film, and theatre. In this article we present a new real-time lighting design model based on cinematic and theatric lighting design theory. The proposed model is designed to automatically, and in realtime, adjust lighting in an interactive scene to accommodate the dramatic, aesthetic, and communicative functions described by traditional lighting design theories, while taking artistic constraints on style, visual continuity, and aesthetic function into account.
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