COLORS project - INRIA Nancy Grand-Est

Modeling and rendering with distance functions

This project is a collaboration between the ALICE / INRIA Nancy Grand-Est team and the Computer Graphics group of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). It is funded by INRIA Nancy Grand-Est for a 12 months period and serves as a first step in what we hope to become a continued collaboration between our teams.

Latest news

  • 2010-10-22 The project starts!

Research summary

The goal of this project is to further explore an alternative representation for interactive modeling of shapes: Objects defined as the iso-value of a distance function, rather than defined by triangle meshes. While a lot of work has been already done in this area, the novelty of our approach is to consider all steps of image synthesis, from authoring to the final interactive on-screen rendering.

In particular, we focus on ways to model and render surface details, such as displacements and procedural textures. We are also interested in the interactions between the shape and the surface details. While these manipulations may seem natural, they entail several challenges since the surface is defined implicitly. We plan to rely upon by-example texture synthesis to provide easier interaction between the user and the surface. We also seek to avoid discretization and retain the resolution-independence properties of distance functions. This work will extend the existing implicit surface modeling tool from the KIT.

Our goal with this project is to propose a full modeling and rendering pipeline based on distance functions, affording for easy user manipulation and rapid modeling. We believe such a modeling tool to be especially well-suited to natural or organic shapes such as tree trunks, rocks, and landscapes. The expected result of this work is an interactive modeling tool enabling direct manipulation of these shapes and surface details.

Teams and involved researchers

ALICE / INRIA Nancy Grand-Est

The ALICE / INRIA team focuses on the representation of geometry, as well as the interactions between light and surfaces. It contributed several advanced algorithms for meshing, surface analysis, texture mapping and light transport simulation. In this context, it also developed several GPU accelerated algorithms and data-structures for solving linear system and texturing.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is the result of the fusion of the Technical University Karlsruhe of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and a large-scale research institution of the Helmholtz Association. The chair of computer graphics at the KIT, headed by Professor Carsten Dachsbacher, conducts research in photorealistic and real-time rendering, high performance computing using graphics hardware, scientific visualization, perceptual graphics, and procedural and interactive modeling techniques.

The KIT team is geographically close from Nancy (223km by road), making meetings and exchanges easy to organize. Both teams have complementary research focuses and skills: The ALICE team has a strong experience of shape representations, rendering and texturing techniques. The KIT team specializes in hardware accelerated rendering and fast light transport simulation for interactive visualization.


In each of the teams, the following researchers will be involved in the project:

    • Sylvain Lefebvre (full time researcher)
    • Bruno Jobard (full time researcher)
  • KIT
    • Carsten Dachsbacher (full professor)
    • Tim Reiner (PhD student)