Ray Tracer

Jan 11

Ray Tracer: Shaders

Now that we can get intersections from our solids, we’re almost ready to start producing some images. We still need two things: first we need a little bit more information about the surrounding world and second we need a way to convert this information to color.

For the more information we’ll introduce a Ray_Path which looks like this:

data Ray_Path = Ray_Path {hit :: Maybe Intersection, light_hits :: [Light_Castback], shader :: Shader}

A Ray_Path gives us everything we need to understand how a ray travelled through our scene (things will have to be added to what we have right now) and convert that to color. The hit field is just an intersection from the previous post. The light_hits contain Light_Castbacks which I’m not going to define just yet–they’ll be covered in a post called “Lighting”–for now let it suffice to say that a Light_Castback will tell you everything you need to know about how this ray interacted with the lights in the scene. However we are going to talk about the shader. Shaders are the second thing we need, they’re a way to convert a Ray_Path into color. In case you don’t trust me, here’s the type signature:

type Shader = Ray_Path -> Color

Shaders are a pretty pervasive idea in graphics, and eventually I’m going to implement a full blown shader language. However for right now they’re just described in terms of a Haskell function.

This is all we need to start doing some really simple ray tracing, so here it is: this is a simple scene with a single sphere and a shader attached to it that always returns red. Nothing too fancy, but it proves that everything underneath the hood is working:

The first render.

Jan 11

Ray Tracer: Geometry

The first thing we’re going to need is some geometry to shoot our rays at:

class Solid a where
    intersect :: Ray -> a -> Maybe Intersection

Basically something is a solid if we can shoot rays at it and possibly get back an Intersection (we may miss and not get back an intersection).

An Intersection is just what a record of a Ray hitting a Solid, defined as:

data Intersection = Intersection {t :: Float, loc :: Vec3f, normal :: Vec3f} deriving (Show)

Right now it only records the parameter of the ray, the location of the intersection and the normal. We’re going to need to extend that to get more sophisticated effects but we can get some simple stuff going with this.

Now that we have that we can implement our first actual primitive solid, a sphere:

data Sphere = Sphere Vec3f Float deriving (Show)
instance Solid Sphere where
    intersect (Ray p0 d) (Sphere c r) = case t of
        Nothing -> Nothing
        Just s -> Just (Intersection s pt (normed (pt <-> c)))
            where pt = (at (Ray p0 d) s)
        where t = (min_over_zero (real_quadratic (d <.> d) ((2 <*> d) <.> (p0 <-> c)) (((p0 <-> c) <.> (p0 <-> c)) - r ^ 2)))

Jan 11

Ray Tracer: Vector Module

The is going to be some of the most used code and it’s going to be a hot spot for bugs. A nice thing that Haskell does is make it very easy to define your own infix operators this should help a lot to keep things readable. Here’s the code:

module Vector (Vec3f, Color, (<+>), (<->), (<*>), (</>), (<.>), x, len, normed, Ray(Ray), at) where
--general purpose 3 field vector
type Vec3 a = (a, a, a)
(<+>) :: (Num a) => Vec3 a -> Vec3 a -> Vec3 a
(<+>) (x1,y1,z1) (x2,y2,z2) = (x1 + x2, y1 + y2, z1 + z2) 
(<->) :: (Num a) => Vec3 a -> Vec3 a -> Vec3 a
(<->) (x1,y1,z1) (x2,y2,z2) = (x1 - x2, y1 - y2, z1 - z2) 
(<*>) :: (Num a) => a -> Vec3 a -> Vec3 a
(<*>) r (x,y,z) = (r * x, r * y, r * z)
(</>) :: (Fractional a) => Vec3 a -> a -> Vec3 a
(</>) (x,y,z) r = (x / r, y / r, z / r)
(<.>) :: (Num a) => Vec3 a -> Vec3 a -> a
(<.>) (x1,y1,z1) (x2,y2,z2) = (x1 * x2) + (y1 * y2) + (z1 * z2) 
--cross product
x :: (Num a) => Vec3 a -> Vec3 a -> Vec3 a
x (x1,y1,z1) (x2,y2,z2) = ((y1 * z2 - y2 * z1), (x1*z2 - x2*z1), (x1 * y2 - y1 * x2))
len :: (Floating a) => Vec3 a -> a
len v = sqrt (v <.> v)
normed :: (Floating a) => Vec3 a -> Vec3 a
normed v = v </> len v
type Vec3f = (Vec3 Float)
type Color = (Vec3 Int)
data Ray = Ray {orig :: Vec3f,
                  dir  :: Vec3f
                 } deriving (Show)
at::Ray -> Float -> Vec3 Float
at (Ray orig dir) t = orig <+> (t <*> dir)

Pretty basic so far, but this should be enough to get me started. Haskell wasn’t happy when I tried to make the infix operators without the “<>“s so I guess I’m stuck with them (unless someone can tell me how to fix it.) However this does still look pretty nice:

*Vector> (1,1,1) <+> (5,5,5)
*Vector> (1,1,1) <-> (5,5,5)
*Vector> 5 <*> (1,2,3)
*Vector> (1,2,3) </> 5
*Vector> (1,2,3) <.> (3,2,1)
*Vector> (1,0,0) `x` (0,1,0)
*Vector> len (1,1,0)
*Vector> sqrt 2
*Vector> normed (1,2,3)
*Vector> len (normed (1,2,3))
*Vector> (Ray (0,0,0) (4,3,2)) `at` 100