Jeffrey Smith


Perceptual optimization, the application of human visual perception models to remove imperceptible components in a graphics system, has been proven effective in achieving significant computational speedup. Previous implementations of this technique have focused on spatial level of detail reduction, which typically results in noticeable degradation of image quality. This thesis introduces refresh rate modulation (RRM), a novel perceptual optimization technique that produces better performance enhancement while more effectively preserving image quality and resolving static scene elements in full detail. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of this technique, a graphics framework has been developed that interfaces with eye tracking hardware to take advantage of user fixation data in real-time. Central to the framework is a high-performance GPGPU ray-tracing engine written in OpenCL. RRM reduces the frequency with which pixels outside of the foveal region are updated by the ray-tracer. A persistent pixel buffer is maintained such that peripheral data from previous frames provides context for the foveal image in the current frame. Traditional optimization techniques have also been incorporated into the ray-tracer for improved performance. Applying the RRM technique to the ray-tracing engine results in a speedup of 2.27 (252 fps vs. 111 fps at 1080p) for the classic Whitted scene with reflection and transmission enabled. A speedup of 3.41 (140 fps vs. 41 fps at 1080p) is observed for a high-polygon scene that depicts the Stanford Bunny. A small pilot study indicates that RRM achieves these results with minimal impact to perceived image quality. A secondary investigation is conducted regarding the performance benefits of increasing physics engine error tolerance for bounding volume hierarchy based collision detection when the scene elements involved are in the user's periphery. The open-source Bullet Physics Library was used to add accurate collision detection to the full resolution ray-tracing engine. For a scene with a static high-polygon model and 50 moving spheres, a speedup of 1.8 was observed for physics calculations. The development and integration of this subsystem demonstrates the extensibility of the graphics framework.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Computer graphics--Design; Imaging systems--Image quality; Ray tracing algorithms; Computer vision

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Computer Science (GCCIS)


Bailey, Reynold


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: T385 .S64 2012


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