X-M1 & M2R 2019-2020 project :
« Procedural modeling of 3D realistic galactic dust and nebulas »


Fabrice NEYRET   - Maverick team, LJK, at INRIA-Montbonnot (Grenoble)


One of the Graals of Computer Graphics is the realistic rendering of ultra large and detailed scenes, possibly with real-time walk-through. Virtual exploration of galaxies is a challenging example of it : ultra complex, large and detailed, with very little corresponding 3D data and physical models, while people are already accustomed to detailed Hubble photos at various scales from whole galaxy (left image - NGC3810) to nebula (right).

Procedural noise such as Perlin noise (see refs) is a classical CG equation/algorithm to produce cheaply very large and detailed natural looking stochastic patterns. But many real-world patterns don't directly fit their look, in particular the dark fractal clouds of galactic dust showing in spirals. Worse: nebulas burst holes in it, deforming the fabric and adding their own local dynamics resulting in the typical gorgeous nebulas images.

Description of the subject

From our previous researches we already have some ingredients: the concept of unitary multiplicative noise (middle images; see also this shadertoy), an isolated nebula prototype model (right image or interactive shadertoy), many inputs from the astrophysical world, plus a strong experience in real-time realism, including hacking noise formulas for graphics applications.

The main purpose of the subject is to explore and study various options to make a complete model from the new unitary multiplicative noise technique, especially in 3D, adapted to the representation of dust galactic clouds, nebulas, and the seamless insertion of these in the fabric. Note that while the first target is astrophysical scenaries, such a new procedural tool can have broader applications.