Understanding High Dynamic Range Rendering

The term high dynamic range rendering, better known as HDRR or HDR Rendering, refers to a fundamentally different approach used for the rendering of three dimensional scenes, shots, images and graphics. A lot of people have been using high dynamic range rendering (HDRR or HDR Rendering) to further their artwork and make them more efficient with regards to cost consumption.

The following article aims to understand the basics of high dynamic range rendering (HDRR or HDR Rendering).

About High Dynamic Range Rendering

Essentially, the high dynamic range rendering (HDRR or HDR Rendering) algorithms compute the lighting and rendering equations in a relatively larger and broader dynamic range.

What this means for the three dimensional artist or the digital painter is that there is a far more greater level of detail preserved into the final render. This technique saves details that previously slipped through the cracks due to limiting contrast ratios.

Advantages of High Dynamic Range Rendering

A lot of artists and painters use this technique, along with the movie and video game industry, because high dynamic range rendering preserves more detail based on much simpler light models being used. This directly translates into cost benefits for a lot of people in the movie and video game industry because High Dynamic Range Rendering saves processing time, storage costs and waiting times. This is directly and tangibly convertible to more time and money resources at hand, which results in greater productivity and profits.

Limitations and Disadvantages of High Dynamic Range Rendering

One of the primary limitations of the high dynamic range rendering is that there is only so much that the human eye can see or make out. Beyond a certain static range, the eye cannot make out the difference. This also holds true for image reproduction by most of the display units, like plasmas and LCDs. These can actually reproduce only a small amount of the contrasts that exist in the real world. The contrast reproduction by these displays is much lower during operating conditions.

Another problem is that the high dynamic range rendering systems tend to produce a lot of flare when used with “point like” light sources. One of the popular fixes to this problem is the usage of tone mapping. Essentially tone mapping is a simple process of matching the colors (after the completion of light computations) in the high dynamic range to suitable counterparts in the lower dynamic range. This is done to match the quality output capability of the display unit. Also, a point worth noting is that the mapping and matching is never done linearly. This results in scenes and images that preserve the detail levels due the high dynamic range calculations and have colors and contrasts that are reproducible by display units.

The above explained concludes the basic introduction to high dynamic range rendering.