Beyond Programmable Shading SIGGRAPH 2009 Course

August 6th, 2009

The course notes and supplementary material for “Beyond Programmable Shading”, a full-day course held at SIGGRAPH 2009 on August 6, are now available online.

This course is presented in two parts, Beyond Programmable Shading I and Beyond Programmable Shading II.

There are strong indications that the future of interactive graphics programming is a more flexible model than today’s OpenGL/Direct3D pipelines. Graphics developers need a basic understanding of how to combine emerging parallel programming techniques and more flexible graphics processors with the traditional interactive rendering pipeline. The first half of the course introduces the trends and directions in this emerging field. Topics include: parallel graphics architectures, parallel programming models for graphics, and game-developer investigations of the use of these new capabilities in future rendering engines.

The second half of the course has leaders from graphics hardware vendors, game development, and academic research present case studies that show how general parallel computation is being combined with the traditional graphics pipeline to boost image quality and spur new graphics algorithm innovation. Each case study discusses the mix of parallel programming constructs used, details of the graphics algorithm, and how the rendering pipeline and computation interact to achieve the technical goals. The focus is on what currently can be done, how it is done, and near-future trends. Topics include volumetric and hair lighting, alternate rendering pipelines including ray tracing and micropolygon rendering, in-frame data structure construction, and complex image processing. The course concludes with a panel, moderated by the creator of OpenGL Kurt Akeley, on the future of interactive graphics programming models.

The course presenters are experts on advanced rendering, graphics hardware, and parallel computing for graphics from academia and industry, and have presented papers and tutorials on the topic at SIGGRAPH, High Performance Graphics, Supercomputing, IEEE Visualization, and elsewhere.