Non-photorealistic ray tracing with paint and toon shading; Accessibility for the Marginalized: Unleashing the Amateur Potential of Video Games

Moon, Nicholas, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Tychonievich, Luther, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia

Since the late 20th century, advances in computer technology have accelerated adoption and accessibility of personal digital devices. How have the evolution of computer graphics and development tools provided new opportunities for artistic expression through digital media?
How can Non-Photorealistic Rendering (NPR) methods be integrated into a ray-tracing 3D renderer to produce a style like Studio Ghibli’s? Typically, NPR styles are applied as a post-process, or implemented in rasterization instead of ray-tracing. However, this does not allow for rendering physically accurate phenomena, like reflections, refractions, or caustics. Two distinct styles, cartoon and painted, were integrated into the core structure of ray-tracing to produce procedural stylistic images. The result is a rendering engine capable of producing physically based but stylistic images reminiscent of cel-animation, with foreground and background objects.
How have amateur and minority videographers taken advantage of the growing accessibility of video game and animation tools to introduce innovative creative fiction that challenge the historically technical, white, male, heterosexual, and cisgender perspective? Analyzing the impact technological innovation has had on game design is important for both understanding the types of interactive media being created, as well as what impact this has on the public. Specifically, four different methodologies or tools have been utilized by artists: free/open-source engines, interactive fiction, game mods, and even games themselves.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
ray tracing, video games, computer graphics, accessibility

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Luther Tychonievich
STS Advisor: Peter Norton
Technical Team Members: Megan Reddy
Nicholas Moon

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