Deep Shadow Maps

Tom Lokovic, Eric Veach


We introduce deep shadow maps, a technique that produces fast, high-quality shadows for primitives such as hair, fur, and smoke. Unlike traditional shadow maps, which store a single depth at each pixel, deep shadow maps store a representation of the fractional visibility through a pixel at all possible depths. Deep shadow maps have several advantages. First, they are prefiltered, which allows faster shadow lookups and much smaller memory footprints than regular shadow maps of similar quality. Second, they support shadows from partially transparent surfaces and volumetric objects such as fog. Third, they handle important cases of motion blur at no extra cost. The algorithm is simple to implement and can be added easily to existing renderers as an alternative to ordinary shadow maps.

Paper (PDF)

Available in the Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2000.