Ray Classification for Accelerated BVH Traversal

Jakub Hendrich Adam Pospíšil Daniel Meister Jiří Bittner
Computer Graphics Forum (Proceedings of EGSR 2019) 38(4):49-56, 2019
For ray tracing based methods, traversing a hierarchical acceleration data structure takes up a substantial portion of the total rendering time. We propose an additional data structure which cuts off large parts of the hierarchical traversal. We use the idea of ray classification combined with the hierarchical scene representation provided by a bounding volume hierarchy. We precompute short arrays of indices to subtrees inside the hierarchy and use them to initiate the traversal for a given ray class. This arrangement is compact enough to be cache-friendly, preventing the method from negating its traversal gains by excessive memory traffic. The method is easy to use with existing renderers which we demonstrate by integrating it to the PBRT renderer. The proposed technique reduces the number of traversal steps by 42% on average, saving around 15% of time of finding ray-scene intersection on average.