We describe a new technique for coherent out-of-core point-based global illumination and ambient occlusion. Point-based global illumination (PBGI) is used in production to render tremendously complex scenes, so in-core storage of point and octree data structures quickly becomes a problem. However, a simple out-of-core extension of a classical top-down octree building algorithm would be extremely inefficient due to large amount of I/O required. Our method extends previous PBGI algorithms with an out-of-core technique that uses minimal I/O and stores data on disk compactly and in coherent chunks for later access during shading. Using properties of a space-filling Z-curve, we are able to preprocess the data in two passes: an external 1D-sort and an octree construction pass.
Published at Eurographics Symposium on Rendering 2011.