Embree ray tracing kernels repository.
Clone or download
Pull request Compare This branch is 1 commit ahead, 7172 commits behind embree:master.
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Permalink
Failed to load latest commit information.
common
include/embree2
kernels
scripts
tests
tutorials
.gitattributes
.gitignore
CHANGELOG.md
CMakeLists.txt
LICENSE.txt
README.md
readme.pdf

README.md

% Embree: High Performance Ray Tracing Kernels 2.8.0 % Intel Corporation

Embree Overview

Embree is a collection of high-performance ray tracing kernels, developed at Intel. The target user of Embree are graphics application engineers that want to improve the performance of their application by leveraging the optimized ray tracing kernels of Embree. The kernels are optimized for photo-realistic rendering on the latest Intel® processors with support for SSE, AVX, AVX2, AVX512, and the 16-wide Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessor vector instructions. Embree supports runtime code selection to choose the traversal and build algorithms that best matches the instruction set of your CPU. We recommend using Embree through its API to get the highest benefit from future improvements. Embree is released as Open Source under the Apache 2.0 license.

Embree supports applications written with the Intel SPMD Programm Compiler (ISPC, https://ispc.github.io/) by also providing an ISPC interface to the core ray tracing algorithms. This makes it possible to write a renderer in ISPC that leverages SSE, AVX, AVX2, AVX512, and Xeon Phi instructions without any code change. ISPC also supports runtime code selection, thus ISPC will select the best code path for your application, while Embree selects the optimal code path for the ray tracing algorithms.

Embree contains algorithms optimized for incoherent workloads (e.g. Monte Carlo ray tracing algorithms) and coherent workloads (e.g. primary visibility and hard shadow rays). For standard CPUs, the single-ray traversal kernels in Embree provide the best performance for incoherent workloads and are very easy to integrate into existing rendering applications. For Xeon Phi, a renderer written in ISPC using the default hybrid ray/packet traversal algorithms have shown to perform best, but requires writing the renderer in ISPC. In general for coherent workloads, ISPC outperforms the single ray mode on each platform. Embree also supports dynamic scenes by implementing high performance two-level spatial index structure construction algorithms.

In addition to the ray tracing kernels, Embree provides some tutorials to demonstrate how to use the Embree API. The example photorealistic renderer that was originally included in the Embree kernel package is now available in a separate GIT repository (see Embree Example Renderer).

Supported Platforms

Embree supports Windows (32\ bit and 64\ bit), Linux (64\ bit) and Mac OS\ X (64\ bit). The code compiles with the Intel Compiler, GCC, Clang and the Microsoft Compiler. Embree is tested with Intel Compiler 15.0.2, Clang 3.4.2, GCC 4.8.2, and Visual Studio 12 2013. Using the Intel Compiler improves performance by approximately 10%.

Performance also varies across different operating systems. Embree is optimized for Intel CPUs supporting SSE, AVX, and AVX2 instructions, and requires at least a CPU with support for SSE2.

The Xeon Phi version of Embree only works under Linux in 64\ bit mode. For compilation of the the Xeon Phi code the Intel Compiler is required. The host side code compiles with GCC, Clang, and the Intel Compiler.

Contributing to Embree

To contribute code to the Embree repository you need to sign a Contributor License Agreement (CLA). Individuals need to fill out the Individual Contributor License Agreement (ICLA). Corporations need to fill out the Corporate Contributor License Agreement (CCLA) and each employee that wants to contribute has to fill out an Individual Contributor License Agreement (ICLA). Please follow the instructions of the CLA forms to send them.

Embree Support and Contact

If you encounter bugs please report them via Embree's GitHub Issue Tracker.

For questions please write us at embree_support@intel.com.

To receive notifications of updates and new features of Embree please subscribe to the Embree mailing list. Installation of Embree

Windows Installer

You can install the 64\ bit version of the Embree library using the Windows installer application embree-2.8.0-x64.exe. This will install the 64 bit Embree version by default in Program Files\Intel\Embree v2.8.0 x64. To install the 32\ bit Embree library use the embree-2.8.0-win32.exe installer. This will install the 32\ bit Embree version by default in Program Files\Intel\Embree v2.8.0 win32 on 32\ bit systems and Program Files (x86)\Intel\Embree v2.8.0 win32 on 64\ bit systems.

You have to set the path to the lib folder manually to your PATH environment variable for applications to find Embree. To compile applications with Embree you also have to set the Include Directories path in Visual Studio to the include folder of the Embree installation.

To uninstall Embree again open Programs and Features by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Programs, and then clicking Programs and Features. Select Embree 2.8.0 and uninstall it.

Windows ZIP File

Embree is also delivered as a ZIP file for 64 bit embree-2.8.0.x64.windows.zip and 32 bit embree-2.8.0.win32.windows.zip. After unpacking this ZIP file you should set the path to the lib folder manually to your PATH environment variable for applications to find Embree. To compile applications with Embree you also have to set the Include Directories path in Visual Studio to the include folder of the Embree installation.

If you plan to ship Embree with your application, best use the Embree version from this ZIP file.

Linux RPMs

Uncompress the 'tar.gz' file embree-2.8.0.x86_64.rpm.tar.gz to obtain the individual RPM files:

tar xzf embree-2.8.0.x86_64.rpm.tar.gz

To install the Embree using the RPM packages on your Linux system type the following:

sudo rpm --install embree-lib-2.8.0-1.x86_64.rpm
sudo rpm --install embree-devel-2.8.0-1.x86_64.rpm
sudo rpm --install embree-examples-2.8.0-1.x86_64.rpm

To also install the Intel® Xeon Phi™ version of Embree additionally install the following Xeon Phi™ RPMs:

sudo rpm --install --nodeps embree-lib_xeonphi-2.8.0-1.x86_64.rpm
sudo rpm --install --nodeps embree-examples_xeonphi-2.8.0-1.x86_64.rpm

To use the Xeon Phi™ version of Embree you additionally have configure your SINK_LD_LIBRARY_PATH to point to /usr/lib:

export SINK_LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local:${SINK_LD_LIBRARY_PATH}

You also have to install the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) using yum:

sudo yum install tbb.x86_64 tbb-devel.x86_64

or via apt-get:

sudo apt-get install libtbb-dev

Alternatively you can download the latest TBB version from https://www.threadingbuildingblocks.org/download and set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable to point to the TBB library.

Note that the Embree RPMs are linked against the TBB version coming with CentOS. This older TBB version is missing some features required to get optimal build performance and does not support building of scenes lazily during rendering. To get a full featured Embree please install using the tar.gz files, which always ship with the latest TBB version.

Under Linux Embree is installed by default in the /usr/lib and /usr/include directories. This way applications will find Embree automatically. The Embree tutorials are installed into the /usr/bin/embree2 folder. Specify the full path to the tutorials to start them.

To uninstall Embree again just execute the following:

sudo rpm --erase embree-lib-2.8.0-1.x86_64
sudo rpm --erase embree-devel-2.8.0-1.x86_64
sudo rpm --erase embree-examples-2.8.0-1.x86_64

If you also installed the Xeon Phi™ RPMs you have to uninstall them too:

sudo rpm --erase embree-lib_xeonphi-2.8.0-1.x86_64
sudo rpm --erase embree-examples_xeonphi-2.8.0-1.x86_64

Linux tar.gz files

The Linux version of Embree is also delivered as a tar.gz file embree-2.8.0.x86_64.linux.tar.gz. Unpack this file using tar and source the provided embree-vars.sh (if you are using the bash shell) or embree-vars.csh (if you are using the C shell) to setup the environment properly:

tar xzf embree-2.8.0.x64.linux.tar.gz
source embree-2.8.0.x64.linux/embree-vars.sh

If you want to ship Embree with your application best use the Embree version provided through the tar.gz file.

Mac OS X PKG Installer

To install the Embree library on your Mac\ OS\ X system use the provided package installer inside embree-2.8.0.x86_64.dmg. This will install Embree by default into /opt/local/lib and /opt/local/include directories. The Embree tutorials are installed into the /Applications/Embree2 folder.

You also have to install the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) using MacPorts:

sudo port install tbb

Alternatively you can download the latest TBB version from https://www.threadingbuildingblocks.org/download and set the DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable to point to the TBB library.

To uninstall Embree again execute the uninstaller script /Applications/Embree2/uninstall.command.

Mac OS X tar.gz file

The Mac\ OS\ X version of Embree is also delivered as a tar.gz file embree-2.8.0.x86_64.macosx.tar.gz. Unpack this file using tar and and source the provided embree-vars.sh (if you are using the bash shell) or embree-vars.csh (if you are using the C shell) to setup the environment properly:

tar xzf embree-2.8.0.x64.macosx.tar.gz
source embree-2.8.0.x64.macosx/embree-vars.sh

If you want to ship Embree with your application please use the Embree library of the provided tar.gz file. The library name of that Embree library does not contain any global path and also links against TBB without global path. This ensures that the Embree (and TBB) library that you put next to your application executable is used.

Linking ISPC applications with Embree

The precompiled Embree library uses the multi-target mode of ISPC. For your ISPC application to properly link against Embree you also have to enable this mode. You can do this by specifying multiple targets when compiling your application with ISPC, e.g.:

ispc --target sse2,sse4,avx,avx2 -o code.o code.ispc

Compiling Embree

Linux and Mac OS\ X

To compile Embree you need a modern C++ compiler that supports C++11. Embree is tested with Intel® Compiler 15.0.2, Clang 3.4.2, and GCC 4.8.2. If the GCC that comes with your Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS distribution is too old then you can run the provided script scripts/install_linux_gcc.sh to locally install a recent GCC into $HOME/devtools-2.

Embree supports to use the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) as tasking system. For performance and flexibility reasons we recommend to use Embree with the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) and best also use TBB inside your application. Optionally you can disable TBB in Embree through the RTCORE_TASKING_SYSTEM CMake variable.

Embree supported the Intel® SPMD Program Compiler (ISPC), which allows straight forward parallelization of an entire renderer. If you do not want to use ISPC then you can disable ENABLE_ISPC_SUPPORT in CMake. Otherwise, download and install the ISPC binaries (we have tested ISPC version 1.8.2) from ispc.github.io. After installation, put the path to ispc permanently into your PATH environment variable or you need to correctly set the ISPC_EXECUTABLE variable during CMake configuration.

You additionally have to install CMake 2.8.11 or higher and the developer version of GLUT.

Under Mac OS\ X, all these dependencies can be installed using MacPorts:

sudo port install cmake tbb freeglut

Depending on you Linux distribution you can install these dependencies using yum or apt-get. Some of these packages might already be installed or might have slightly different names.

Type the following to install the dependencies using yum:

sudo yum install cmake.x86_64
sudo yum install tbb.x86_64 tbb-devel.x86_64
sudo yum install freeglut.x86_64 freeglut-devel.x86_64
sudo yum install libXmu.x86_64 libXi.x86_64
sudo yum install libXmu-devel.x86_64 libXi-devel.x86_64

Type the following to install the dependencies using apt-get:

sudo apt-get install cmake-curses-gui
sudo apt-get install libtbb-dev
sudo apt-get install freeglut3-dev
sudo apt-get install libxmu-dev libxi-dev

Finally you can compile Embree using CMake. Create a build directory inside the Embree root directory and execute ccmake .. inside this build directory.

mkdir build
cd build
ccmake ..

Per default CMake will use the compilers specified with the CC and CXX environment variables. Should you want to use a different compiler, run cmake first and set the CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER and CMAKE_C_COMPILER variables to the desired compiler. For example, to use the Intel Compiler instead of the default GCC on most Linux machines (g++ and gcc) execute

cmake -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=icpc -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=icc ..

Similarly, to use Clang set the variables to clang++ and clang, respectively. Note that the compiler variables cannot be changed anymore after the first run of cmake or ccmake.

Running ccmake will open a dialog where you can perform various configurations as described below. After having configured Embree, press c (for configure) and g (for generate) to generate a Makefile and leave the configuration. The code can be compiled by executing make.

make

The executables will be generated inside the build folder. We recommend to finally install the Embree library and header files on your system. Therefore set the CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX to /usr in cmake and type:

sudo make install

If you keep the default CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX of /usr/local then you have to make sure the path /usr/local/lib is in your LD_LIBRARY_PATH.

You can also uninstall Embree again by executing:

sudo make uninstall

If you cannot install Embree on your system (e.g. when you don't have administrator rights) you need to add embree_root_directory/build to your LD_LIBRARY_PATH (and SINK_LD_LIBRARY_PATH in case you want to use Embree on Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessors).

Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessor

Embree supports the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessor under Linux. To compile Embree for Xeon Phi you need to enable the XEON_PHI_ISA option in CMake and have the Intel Compiler and the Intel® Manycore Platform Software Stack (Intel® MPSS) installed.

Enabling the buffer stride feature reduces performance for building spatial hierarchies on Xeon Phi. Under Xeon Phi the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) tasking system is not supported, and the implementation will always use some internal tasking system.

Windows

To compile Embree under Windows you need Visual Studio 2013 or Visual Studio 2012. Under Visual Studio 2013 you can enable AVX2 in CMake, however, Visual Studio 2012 supports at most AVX.

Embree supports to use the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) as tasking system. For performance and flexibility reasons we recommend to use Embree with the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) and best also use TBB inside your application. Optionally you can disable TBB in Embree through the RTCORE_TASKING_SYSTEM CMake variable.

Embree will either find the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) installation that comes with the Intel® Compiler, or you can install the binary distribution of TBB directly from www.threadingbuildingblocks.org into a folder named tbb into your Embree root directory. You also have to make sure that the libraries tbb.dll and tbb_malloc.dll can be found when executing your Embree applications, e.g. by putting the path to these libraries into your PATH environment variable.

Embree supported the Intel® SPMD Program Compiler (ISPC), which allows straight forward parallelization of an entire renderer. If you do not want to use ISPC then you can disable ENABLE_ISPC_SUPPORT in CMake. Otherwise, download and install the ISPC binaries (we have tested ISPC version 1.8.2) from ispc.github.io. After installation, put the path to ispc.exe permanently into your PATH environment variable or you need to correctly set the ISPC_EXECUTABLE variable during CMake configuration.

You additionally have to install CMake (version 2.8.11 or higher). Note that you need a native Windows CMake installation, because CMake under Cygwin cannot generate solution files for Visual Studio.

Using the IDE

Run cmake-gui, browse to the Embree sources, set the build directory and click Configure. Now you can select the Generator, e.g. "Visual Studio 12 2013" for a 32\ bit build or "Visual Studio 12 2013 Win64" for a 64\ bit build. Most configuration parameters described for the Linux build can be set under Windows as well. Finally, click "Generate" to create the Visual Studio solution files.


Option Description Default


CMAKE_CONFIGURATION_TYPE List of generated Debug;Release;RelWithDebInfo configurations.

USE_STATIC_RUNTIME Use the static OFF version of the C/C++ runtime library.


: Windows-specific CMake build options for Embree.

For compilation of Embree under Windows use the generated Visual Studio solution file embree2.sln. The solution is by default setup to use the Microsoft Compiler. You can switch to the Intel Compiler by right clicking onto the solution in the Solution Explorer and then selecting the Intel Compiler. We recommend using 64\ bit mode and the Intel Compiler for best performance.

To build Embree with support for the AVX2 instruction set you need at least Visual Studio 2013 Update\ 4. When switching to the Intel Compiler to build with AVX2 you currently need to manually remove the switch /arch:AVX2 from the embree_avx2 project, which can be found under Properties ⇒ C/C++ ⇒ All Options ⇒ Additional Options.

To build all projects of the solution it is recommend to build the CMake utility project ALL_BUILD, which depends on all projects. Using "Build Solution" would also build all other CMake utility projects (such as INSTALL), which is usually not wanted.

We recommend enabling syntax highlighting for the .ispc source and .isph header files. To do so open Visual Studio, go to Tools ⇒ Options ⇒ Text Editor ⇒ File Extension and add the isph and ispc extension for the "Microsoft Visual C++" editor.

Using the Command Line

Embree can also be configured and built without the IDE using the Visual Studio command prompt:

cd path\to\embree
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -G "Visual Studio 12 2013 Win64" ..
cmake --build . --config Release

To switch to the Intel Compiler use

ICProjConvert150 embree2.sln /IC /s /f

You can also build only some projects with the --target switch. Additional parameters after "--" will be passed to msbuild. For example, to build the Embree library in parallel use

cmake --build . --config Release --target embree -- /m

CMake configuration

The default CMake configuration in the configuration dialog should be appropriate for most usages. The following table describes all parameters that can be configured in CMake:


Option Description Default


CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE Can be used to switch between Release Debug mode (Debug), Release mode (Release), and Release mode with enabled assertions and debug symbols (RelWithDebInfo).

ENABLE_ISPC_SUPPORT Enables ISPC support of Embree. ON

ENABLE_STATIC_LIB Builds Embree as a static OFF library. When using the statically compiled Embree library, you have to define ENABLE_STATIC_LIB before including rtcore.h in your application.

ENABLE_TUTORIALS Enables build of Embree ON tutorials.

ENABLE_XEON_PHI_SUPPORT Enables generation of the OFF Xeon Phi version of Embree.

RTCORE_BACKFACE_CULLING Enables backface culling, i.e. OFF only surfaces facing a ray can be hit.

RTCORE_BUFFER_STRIDE Enables the buffer stride ON feature.

RTCORE_INTERSECTION_FILTER Enables the intersection filter ON feature.

RTCORE_INTERSECTION_FILTER Restore previous hit when ON _RESTORE ignoring hits.

RTCORE_RAY_MASK Enables the ray masking feature. OFF

RTCORE_RAY_PACKETS Enables ray packet support. ON

RTCORE_IGNORE_INVALID_RAYS Makes code robust against the OFF risk of full-tree traversals caused by invalid rays (e.g. rays containing INF/NaN as origins).

RTCORE_TASKING_SYSTEM Chooses between Intel® Threading TBB Building Blocks (TBB) or an internal tasking system (INTERNAL).

XEON_ISA Select highest supported ISA on AVX2 Intel® Xeon® CPUs (SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, AVX, AVX-I, AVX2, or AVX512KNL).


: CMake build options for Embree.

Embree API

The Embree API is a low level ray tracing API that supports defining and committing of geometry and performing ray queries of different types. Static and dynamic scenes are supported, that may contain triangular geometry (including linear motions for motion blur), instanced geometry, and user defined geometry. Supported ray queries are, finding the closest scene intersection along a ray, and testing a ray segment for any intersection with the scene. Single rays, as well as packets of rays in a struct of array layout can be used for packet sizes of 1, 4, 8, and 16 rays. Filter callback functions are supported, that get invoked for every intersection encountered during traversal.

The Embree API exists in a C++ and ISPC version. This document describes the C++ version of the API, the ISPC version is almost identical. The only differences are that the ISPC version needs some ISPC specific uniform type modifiers, and limits the ray packets to the native SIMD size the ISPC code is compiled for.

The user is supposed to include the embree2/rtcore.h, and the embree2/rtcore_ray.h file, but none of the other header files. If using the ISPC version of the API, the user should include embree2/rtcore.isph and embree2/rtcore_ray.isph.

#include <embree2/rtcore.h>
#include <embree2/rtcore_ray.h>

All API calls carry the prefix rtc which stands for ray tracing core. Embree supports a device concept, which allows different components of the application to use the API without interfering with each other. You have to create at least one Embree device through the rtcNewDevice call. Before the application exits it should delete all devices by invoking rtcDeleteDevice. An application typically creates a single device only, and should create only a small number of devices.

RTCDevice device = rtcNewDevice(NULL);
...
rtcDeleteDevice(device);

It is strongly recommended to have the Flush to Zero and Denormals are Zero mode of the MXCSR control and status register enabled for each thread before calling the rtcIntersect and rtcOccluded functions. Otherwise, under some circumstances special handling of denormalized floating point numbers can significantly reduce application and Embree performance. When using Embree together with the Intel® Threading Building Blocks, it is sufficient to execute the following code at the beginning of the application main thread (before the creation of the tbb::task_scheduler_init object):

#include <xmmintrin.h>
#include <pmmintrin.h>
...
_MM_SET_FLUSH_ZERO_MODE(_MM_FLUSH_ZERO_ON);
_MM_SET_DENORMALS_ZERO_MODE(_MM_DENORMALS_ZERO_ON);

Embree processes some implementation specific configuration from the following locations in the specified order:

  1. configuration string passed to the rtcNewDevice function
  2. .embree2 file in the application folder
  3. .embree2 file in the home folder

This way the configuration for the application can be changed globally (either through the rtcNewDevice call or through the .embree2 file in the application folder) and each user has the option to modify the configuration to fit its needs.

API calls that access geometries are only thread safe as long as different geometries are accessed. Accesses to one geometry have to get sequenced by the application. All other API calls are thread safe. The API calls are re-entrant, it is thus safe to trace new rays and create new geometry when intersecting a user defined object.

Each user thread has its own error flag per device. If an error occurs when invoking some API function, this flag is set to an error code if it stores no previous error. The rtcDeviceGetError function reads and returns the currently stored error and clears the error flag again.

Possible error codes returned by rtcDeviceGetError are:


Error Code Description


RTC_NO_ERROR No error occurred.

RTC_UNKNOWN_ERROR An unknown error has occurred.

RTC_INVALID_ARGUMENT An invalid argument was specified.

RTC_INVALID_OPERATION The operation is not allowed for the specified object.

RTC_OUT_OF_MEMORY There is not enough memory left to complete the operation.

RTC_UNSUPPORTED_CPU The CPU is not supported as it does not support SSE2.

RTC_CANCELLED The operation got cancelled by an Memory Monitor Callback or Progress Monitor Callback function.


: Return values of rtcDeviceGetError.

When the device construction fails rtcNewDevice returns NULL as device. To detect the error code of a such a failed device construction pass NULL as device to the rtcDeviceGetError function. For all other invokations of rtcDeviceGetError a proper device pointer has to get specified.

Using the rtcDeviceSetErrorFunction call, it is also possible to set a callback function that is called whenever an error occurs for a device. The callback function gets passed the error code, as well as some string that describes the error further. Passing NULL to rtcDeviceSetErrorFunction disables the set callback function again. The previously described error flags are also set if an error callback function is present.

Scene

A scene is a container for a set of geometries of potentially different types. A scene is created using the rtcDeviceNewScene function call, and destroyed using the rtcDeleteScene function call. Two types of scenes are supported, dynamic and static scenes. Different flags specify the type of scene to create and the type of ray query operations that can later be performed on the scene. The following example creates a scene that supports dynamic updates and the single ray rtcIntersect and rtcOccluded calls.

RTCScene scene = rtcDeviceNewScene(device, RTC_SCENE_DYNAMIC, RTC_INTERSECT1);
...
rtcDeleteScene(scene);

Using the following scene flags the user can select between creating a static or dynamic scene.

Scene Flag Description


RTC_SCENE_STATIC Scene is optimized for static geometry. RTC_SCENE_DYNAMIC Scene is optimized for dynamic geometry.


: Dynamic type flags for rtcDeviceNewScene.

A dynamic scene is created by invoking rtcDeviceNewScene with the RTC_SCENE_DYNAMIC flag. Different geometries can now be created inside that scene. Geometries are enabled by default. Once the scene geometry is specified, an rtcCommit call will finish the scene description and trigger building of internal data structures. After the rtcCommit call it is safe to perform ray queries of the type specified at scene construction time. Geometries can get disabled (rtcDisable call), enabled again (rtcEnable call), and deleted (rtcDeleteGeometry call). Geometries can also get modified, including their vertex and index arrays. After the modification of some geometry, rtcUpdate or rtcUpdateBuffer has to get called for that geometry to specify which buffers got modified. Each modified buffer can specified separately using the rtcUpdateBuffer function. In contrast the rtcUpdate function simply tags each buffer of some geometry as modified. If geometries got enabled, disabled, deleted, or modified an rtcCommit call has to get invoked before performing any ray queries for the scene, otherwise the effect of the ray query is undefined. During in rtcCommit call modifications to the scene are not allowed.

A static scene is created by the rtcDeviceNewScene call with the RTC_SCENE_STATIC flag. Geometries can only get created, enabled, disabled and modified until the first rtcCommit call. After the rtcCommit call, each access to any geometry of that static scene is invalid. Geometries that got created inside a static scene can only get deleted by deleting the entire scene.

The modification of geometry, building of hierarchies using rtcCommit, and tracing of rays have always to happen separately, never at the same time.

Embree silently ignores primitives that would cause numerical issues, e.g. primitives containing NaNs, INFs, or values greater than 1.844E18f.

The following flags can be used to tune the used acceleration structure. These flags are only hints and may be ignored by the implementation.


Scene Flag Description


RTC_SCENE_COMPACT Creates a compact data structure and avoids algorithms that consume much memory.

RTC_SCENE_COHERENT Optimize for coherent rays (e.g. primary rays).

RTC_SCENE_INCOHERENT Optimize for in-coherent rays (e.g. diffuse reflection rays).

RTC_SCENE_HIGH_QUALITY Build higher quality spatial data structures.


: Acceleration structure flags for rtcDeviceNewScene.

The following flags can be used to tune the traversal algorithm that is used by Embree. These flags are only hints and may be ignored by the implementation.

Scene Flag Description


RTC_SCENE_ROBUST Avoid optimizations that reduce arithmetic accuracy.


: Traversal algorithm flags for rtcDeviceNewScene.

The second argument of the rtcDeviceNewScene function are algorithm flags, that allow to specify which ray queries are required by the application. Calling for a scene a ray query API function that is different to the ones specified at scene creation time is not allowed. Further, the application should only pass ray query requirements that are really needed, to give Embree most freedom in choosing the best algorithm. E.g. in case Embree implements no packet traversers for some highly optimized data structure for single rays, then this data structure cannot be used if the user enables any ray packet query.


Algorithm Flag Description


RTC_INTERSECT1 Enables the rtcIntersect and rtcOccluded functions (single ray interface) for this scene.

RTC_INTERSECT4 Enables the rtcIntersect4 and rtcOccluded4 functions (4-wide packet interface) for this scene.

RTC_INTERSECT8 Enables the rtcIntersect8 and rtcOccluded8 functions (8-wide packet interface) for this scene.

RTC_INTERSECT16 Enables the rtcIntersect16 and rtcOccluded16 functions (16-wide packet interface) for this scene.

RTC_INTERPOLATE Enables the rtcInterpolate and rtcInterpolateN interpolation functions.


: Enabled algorithm flags for rtcDeviceNewScene.

Geometries

Geometries are always contained in the scene they are created in. Each geometry is assigned an integer ID at creation time, which is unique for that scene. The current version of the API supports triangle meshes (rtcNewTriangleMesh), Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces (rtcNewSubdivisionMesh), hair geometries (rtcNewHairGeometry), single level instances of other scenes (rtcNewInstance), and user defined geometries (rtcNewUserGeometry). The API is designed in a way that easily allows adding new geometry types in later releases.

For dynamic scenes, the assigned geometry IDs fulfill the following properties. As long as no geometry got deleted, all IDs are assigned sequentially, starting from 0. If geometries got deleted, the implementation will reuse IDs later on in an implementation dependent way. Consequently sequential assignment is no longer guaranteed, but a compact range of IDs. These rules allow the application to manage a dynamic array to efficiently map from geometry IDs to its own geometry representation.

For static scenes, geometry IDs are assigned sequentially starting at 0. This allows the application to use a fixed size array to map from geometry IDs to its own geometry representation.

Alternatively the application can also use the void rtcSetUserData (RTCScene scene, unsigned geomID, void* ptr) function to set a pointer ptr to its own geometry representation, and later read out this pointer again using the void* rtcGetUserData (RTCScene scene, unsigned geomID) function.

The following geometry flags can be specified at construction time of most geometries:


Geometry Flag Description


RTC_GEOMETRY_STATIC The geometry is considered static and should get modified rarely by the application. This flag has to get used in static scenes.

RTC_GEOMETRY_DEFORMABLE The geometry is considered to deform in a coherent way, e.g. a skinned character. The connectivity of the geometry has to stay constant, thus modifying the index array is not allowed. The implementation is free to choose a BVH refitting approach for handling meshes tagged with that flag.

RTC_GEOMETRY_DYNAMIC The geometry is considered highly dynamic and changes frequently, possibly in an unstructured way. Embree will rebuild data structures from scratch for this type of mesh.


: Flags for the creation of new geometries.

Triangle Meshes

Triangle meshes are created using the rtcNewTriangleMesh function call, and potentially deleted using the rtcDeleteGeometry function call.

The number of triangles, number of vertices, and optionally the number of time steps (1 for normal meshes, and 2 for linear motion blur) have to get specified at construction time of the mesh. The user can also specify additional flags that choose the strategy to handle that mesh in dynamic scenes. The following example demonstrates how to create a triangle mesh without motion blur:

unsigned geomID = rtcNewTriangleMesh(scene, geomFlags,
   numTriangles, numVertices, 1);

The triangle indices can be set by mapping and writing to the index buffer (RTC_INDEX_BUFFER) and the triangle vertices can be set by mapping and writing into the vertex buffer (RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER). The index buffer contains an array of three 32\ bit indices, while the vertex buffer contains an array of three float values aligned to 16 bytes. The 4th component of the aligned vertices can be arbitrary. All buffers have to get unmapped before an rtcCommit call to the scene.

struct Vertex   { float x, y, z, a; };
struct Triangle { int v0, v1, v2; };

Vertex* vertices = (Vertex*) rtcMapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER);
// fill vertices here
rtcUnmapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER);

Triangle* triangles = (Triangle*) rtcMapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER);
// fill triangle indices here
rtcUnmapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER);

Also see tutorial Triangle Geometry for an example of how to create triangle meshes.

The parametrization of a triangle uses the first vertex p0 as base point, and the vector p1 - p0 as u-direction and p2 - p0 as v-direction. The following picture additionally illustrates the direction the geometry normal is pointing into.

Some texture coordinates t0,t1,t2 can be linearly interpolated over the triangle the following way:

t_uv = (1-u-v)*t0 + u*(t1-t0) + v*(t2-t0)

Quad Meshes

Quad meshes are created using the rtcNewQuadMesh function call, and potentially deleted using the rtcDeleteGeometry function call.

The number of quads, number of vertices, and optionally the number of time steps (1 for normal meshes, and 2 for linear motion blur) have to get specified at construction time of the mesh. The user can also specify additional flags that choose the strategy to handle that mesh in dynamic scenes. The following example demonstrates how to create a quad mesh without motion blur:

unsigned geomID = rtcNewQuadMesh(scene, geomFlags,
   numTriangles, numVertices, 1);

The quad indices can be set by mapping and writing to the index buffer (RTC_INDEX_BUFFER) and the quad vertices can be set by mapping and writing into the vertex buffer (RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER). The index buffer contains an array of four 32\ bit indices, while the vertex buffer contains an array of three float values aligned to 16 bytes. The 4th component of the aligned vertices can be arbitrary. All buffers have to get unmapped before an rtcCommit call to the scene.

struct Vertex { float x, y, z, a; };
struct Quad   { int v0, v1, v2, v3; };

Vertex* vertices = (Vertex*) rtcMapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER);
// fill vertices here
rtcUnmapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER);

Quad* quads = (Quad*) rtcMapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER);
// fill quad indices here
rtcUnmapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER);

The quad is internally handled as a pair of two triangles v0,v1,v3 and v2,v3,v1, with the u'/v' coordinates of the second triangle corrected by u = 1-u' and v = 1-v' to make a parametrization where u and v go from 0 to 1.

Te encode a triangle as quad just replicate the last triangle vertex (v0,v1,v2 -> v0,v1,v2,v2). This way the quad mesh can be used to represent a mesh with triangles and quads.

Subdivision Surfaces

Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces for meshes consisting of triangle and quad primitives (even mixed inside one mesh) are supported, including support for edge creases, vertex creases, holes, and non-manifold geometry.

A subdivision surface is created using the rtcNewSubdivisionMesh function call, and deleted again using the rtcDeleteGeometry function call.

 unsigned rtcNewSubdivisionMesh(RTCScene scene, 
                                RTCGeometryFlags flags,
                                size_t numFaces,
                                size_t numEdges,
                                size_t numVertices,
                                size_t numEdgeCreases,
                                size_t numVertexCreases,
                                size_t numCorners,
                                size_t numHoles,
                                size_t numTimeSteps);

The number of faces (numFaces), edges/indices (numEdges), vertices (numVertices), edge creases (numEdgeCreases), vertex creases (numVertexCreases), holes (numHoles), and time steps (numTimeSteps) have to get specified at construction time.

The following buffers have to get setup by the application: the face buffer (RTC_FACE_BUFFER) contains the number edges/indices (3 or 4) of each of the numFaces faces, the index buffer (RTC_INDEX_BUFFER) contains multiple (3 or 4) 32\ bit vertex indices for each face and numEdges indices in total, the vertex buffer (RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER) stores numVertices vertices as single precision x, y, z floating point coordinates aligned to 16 bytes. The value of the 4th float used for alignment can be arbitrary.

Optionally, the application can setup the hole buffer (RTC_HOLE_BUFFER) with numHoles many 32\ bit indices of faces that should be considered non-existing.

Optionally, the application can fill the level buffer (RTC_LEVEL_BUFFER) with a tessellation level for each or the edges of each face, making a total of numEdges values. The tessellation level is a positive floating point value, that specifies how many quads along the edge should get generated during tessellation. The tessellation level is a lower bound, thus the implementation is free to choose a larger level. If no level buffer is specified a level of 1 is used. Note that some edge may be shared between (typically 2) faces. To guarantee a watertight tessellation, the level of these shared edges has to be exactly identical.

Optionally, the application can fill the sparse edge crease buffers to make some edges appear sharper. The edge crease index buffer (RTC_EDGE_CREASE_INDEX_BUFFER) contains numEdgeCreases many pairs of 32\ bit vertex indices that specify unoriented edges. The edge crease weight buffer (RTC_EDGE_CREASE_WEIGHT_BUFFER) stores for each of theses crease edges a positive floating point weight. The larger this weight, the sharper the edge. Specifying a weight of infinity is supported and marks an edge as infinitely sharp. Storing an edge multiple times with the same crease weight is allowed, but has lower performance. Storing an edge multiple times with different crease weights results in undefined behavior. For a stored edge (i,j), the reverse direction edges (j,i) does not have to get stored, as both are considered the same edge.

Optionally, the application can fill the sparse vertex crease buffers to make some vertices appear sharper. The vertex crease index buffer (RTC_VERTEX_CREASE_INDEX_BUFFER), contains numVertexCreases many 32\ bit vertex indices to specify a set of vertices. The vertex crease weight buffer (RTC_VERTEX_CREASE_WEIGHT_BUFFER) specifies for each of these vertices a positive floating point weight. The larger this weight, the sharper the vertex. Specifying a weight of infinity is supported and makes the vertex infinitely sharp. Storing a vertex multiple times with the same crease weight is allowed, but has lower performance. Storing a vertex multiple times with different crease weights results in undefined behavior.

One triangles and quadrilaterals are supported as primitives of a subdivision mesh. The parametrization of a triangle uses the first vertex p0 as base point, and the vector p1 - p0 as u-direction and p2 - p0 as v-direction. The following picture additionally illustrates the direction the geometry normal is pointing into.

Some texture coordinates t0,t1,t2 can be linearly interpolated over the triangle the following way:

t_uv = (1-u-v)*t0 + u*(t1-t0) + v*(t2-t0)

The parametrization of a quadrilateral uses the first vertex p0 as base point, and the vector p1 - p0 as u-direction and p3 - p0 as v-direction. The following picture additionally illustrates the direction the geometry normal is pointing into.

Some texture coordinates t0,t1,t2,t3 can be bi-linearly interpolated over the quadrilateral the following way:

t_uv = (1-v)((1-u)*t0 + u*t1) + v*((1-u)*t3 + u*t2) 

To smoothly interpolate texture coordinates over the subdivision surface we recommend using the rtcInterpolate function, which will apply the standard subdivision rules for interpolation.

Using the rtcSetBoundaryMode API call one can specify how corner vertices are handled. Specifying RTC_BOUNDARY_NONE ignores all boundary patches, RTC_BOUNDARY_EDGE_ONLY makes all boundaries soft, while RTC_BOUNDARY_EDGE_AND_CORNER makes corner vertices sharp.

The user can also specify a geometry mask and additional flags that choose the strategy to handle that subdivision mesh in dynamic scenes.

The implementation of subdivision surfaces uses an internal software cache, which can get configured to some desired size (see Configuring Embree).

Also see tutorial Subdivision Geometry for an example of how to create subdivision surfaces.

Line Segment Hair Geometry

Line segments are supported to render hair geometry. A line segment consists of a start and and point, and start and end radius. Individual line segments are considered to be subpixel sized which allows the implementation to approximate the intersection calculation. This in particular means that zooming onto one line segment might show geometric artifacts.

Line segments are created using the rtcNewLineSegments function call, and potentially deleted using the rtcDeleteGeometry function call.

The number of line segments, the number of vertices, and optionally the number of time steps (1 for normal curves, and 2 for linear motion blur) have to get specified at construction time of the line segment geometry.

The segment indices can be set by mapping and writing to the index buffer (RTC_INDEX_BUFFER) and the vertices can be set by mapping and writing into the vertex buffer (RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER). In case of linear motion blur, two vertex buffers (RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER0 and RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER1) have to get filled, one for each time step.

The index buffer contains an array of 32\ bit indices pointing to the ID of the first of two vertices, while the vertex buffer stores all control points in the form of a single precision position and radius stored in x, y, z, r order in memory. The radii have to be greater or equal zero. All buffers have to get unmapped before an rtcCommit call to the scene.

Like for triangle meshes, the user can also specify a geometry mask and additional flags that choose the strategy to handle that mesh in dynamic scenes.

The following example demonstrates how to create some line segment geometry:

unsigned geomID = rtcNewLineSegments(scene, geomFlags, numCurves,
  numVertices, 1);

struct Vertex { float x, y, z, r; };

Vertex* vertices = (Vertex*) rtcMapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER);
// fill vertices here
rtcUnmapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER);

int* curves = (int*) rtcMapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER);
// fill indices here
rtcUnmapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER);

Bezier Curve Hair Geometry

Hair geometries are supported, which consist of multiple hairs represented as cubic Bézier curves with varying radius per control point. Individual hairs are considered to be subpixel sized which allows the implementation to approximate the intersection calculation. This in particular means that zooming onto one hair might show geometric artifacts.

Hair geometries are created using the rtcNewHairGeometry function call, and potentially deleted using the rtcDeleteGeometry function call.

The number of hair curves, the number of vertices, and optionally the number of time steps (1 for normal curves, and 2 for linear motion blur) have to get specified at construction time of the hair geometry.

The curve indices can be set by mapping and writing to the index buffer (RTC_INDEX_BUFFER) and the control vertices can be set by mapping and writing into the vertex buffer (RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER). In case of linear motion blur, two vertex buffers (RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER0 and RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER1) have to get filled, one for each time step.

The index buffer contains an array of 32\ bit indices pointing to the ID of the first of four control vertices, while the vertex buffer stores all control points in the form of a single precision position and radius stored in x, y, z, r order in memory. The hair radii have to be greater or equal zero. All buffers have to get unmapped before an rtcCommit call to the scene.

Like for triangle meshes, the user can also specify a geometry mask and additional flags that choose the strategy to handle that mesh in dynamic scenes.

The following example demonstrates how to create some hair geometry:

unsigned geomID = rtcNewHairGeometry(scene, geomFlags, numCurves, numVertices);

struct Vertex { float x, y, z, r; };

Vertex* vertices = (Vertex*) rtcMapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER);
// fill vertices here
rtcUnmapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER);

int* curves = (int*) rtcMapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER);
// fill indices here
rtcUnmapBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER);

Also see tutorial Hair for an example of how to create and use hair geometry.

User Defined Geometry

User defined geometries make it possible to extend Embree with arbitrary types of geometry. This is achieved by introducing arrays of user geometries as a special geometry type. These objects do not contain a single user geometry, but a set of such geometries, each specified by an index. The user has to provide a data pointer per user geometry, a bounding function closure (function and user pointer) as well as user defined intersect and occluded functions to create a set of user geometries. The user geometry to process is specified by passing its geometry user data pointer and index to each invocation of the bounding, intersect, and occluded function. The bounding function is used to query the bounds of all timesteps of each user geometry. When performing ray queries, Embree will invoke the user intersect (and occluded) functions to test rays for intersection (and occlusion) with the specified user defined geometry.

As Embree supports different ray packet sizes, one potentially has to provide different versions of user intersect and occluded function pointers for these packet sizes. However, the ray packet size of the called user function always matches the packet size of the originally invoked ray query function. Consequently, an application only operating on single rays only has to provide single ray intersect and occluded function pointers.

User geometries are created using the rtcNewUserGeometry function call, and potentially deleted using the rtcDeleteGeometry function call. The the rtcNewUserGeometry2 function additionally gets a numTimeSteps paramter, which specifies the number of timesteps for motion blur. The following example illustrates creating an array with two user geometries:

int numTimeSteps = 2;
struct UserObject { ... };

void userBoundsFunction(void* userPtr, UserObject* userGeomPtr, size_t i, RTCBounds* bounds)
{
  for (size_t i=0; i<numTimeSteps; i++)
    bounds[i] = <bounds of userGeomPtr[i] at time i>;
}

void userIntersectFunction(UserObject* userGeomPtr, RTCRay& ray, size_t i)
{
  if (<ray misses userGeomPtr[i] at time ray.time>)
    return;
  <update ray hit information>;
}

void userOccludedFunction(UserObject* userGeomPtr, RTCRay& ray, size_t i)
{
  if (<ray misses userGeomPtr[i] at time ray.time>)
    return;
  geomID = 0;
}

...

UserObject* userGeomPtr = new UserObject[2];
userGeomPtr[0] = ...
userGeomPtr[1] = ...
unsigned geomID = rtcNewUserGeometry2(scene, 2, numTimeSteps);
rtcSetUserData(scene, geomID, userGeomPtr);
rtcSetBoundsFunction2(scene, geomID, userBoundsFunction, userPtr);
rtcSetIntersectFunction(scene, geomID, userIntersectFunction);
rtcSetOccludedFunction(scene, geomID, userOccludedFunction);

The user bounds function (userBoundsFunction) get as input the pointer provided at the rtcSetBoundsFunction2 function call, the geometry user pointer provided through the rtcSetUserData function call, the i'th geometry to calculate the bounds for, and a pointer to an array of bounds to fill (one bound for each timestep specified when creating the user geometry).

The user intersect function (userIntersectFunction) and user occluded function (userOccludedFunction) get as input the pointer provided through the rtcSetUserData function call, a ray, and the index of the geometry to process. For ray packets, the user intersect and occluded functions also get a pointer to a valid mask as input. The user provided functions should not modify any ray that is disabled by that valid mask.

The user intersect function should return without modifying the ray structure if the user geometry is missed. If the geometry is hit, it has to update the hit information of the ray (tfar, u, v, Ng, geomID, primID).

Also the user occluded function should return without modifying the ray structure if the user geometry is missed. If the geometry is hit, it should set the geomID member of the ray to 0.

See tutorial User Geometry for an example of how to use the user defined geometries.

Instances

Embree supports instancing of scenes inside another scene by some transformation. As the instanced scene is stored only a single time, even if instanced to multiple locations, this feature can be used to create extremely large scenes. Only single level instancing is supported by Embree natively, however, multi-level instancing can principally be implemented through user geometries.

Instances are created using the rtcNewInstance function call, and potentially deleted using the rtcDeleteGeometry function call. To instantiate a scene, one first has to generate the scene B to instantiate. Now one can add an instance of this scene inside a scene A the following way:

unsigned instID = rtcNewInstance(sceneA, sceneB);
rtcSetTransform(sceneA, instID, RTC_MATRIX_COLUMN_MAJOR, &column_matrix_3x4);

Both scenes have to belong to the same device. One has to call rtcCommit on scene B before one calls rtcCommit on scene A. When modifying scene B one has to call rtcUpdate for all instances of that scene. If a ray hits the instance, then the geomID and primID members of the ray are set to the geometry ID and primitive ID of the primitive hit in scene B, and the instID member of the ray is set to the instance ID returned from the rtcNewInstance function.

The rtcSetTransform call can be passed an affine transformation matrix with different data layouts:


Layout Description


RTC_MATRIX_ROW_MAJOR The 3×4 float matrix is laid out in row major form.

RTC_MATRIX_COLUMN_MAJOR The 3×4 float matrix is laid out in column major form.

RTC_MATRIX_COLUMN_MAJOR_ALIGNED16 The 3×4 float matrix is laid out in column major form, with each column padded by an additional 4th component.


: Matrix layouts for rtcSetTransform.

Passing homogeneous 4×4 matrices is possible as long as the last row is (0, 0, 0, 1). If this homogeneous matrix is laid out in row major form, use the RTC_MATRIX_ROW_MAJOR layout. If this homogeneous matrix is laid out in column major form, use the RTC_MATRIX_COLUMN_MAJOR_ALIGNED16 mode. In both cases, Embree will ignore the last row of the matrix.

The transformation passed to rtcSetTransform transforms from the local space of the instantiated scene to world space.

See tutorial Instanced Geometry for an example of how to use instances.

Ray Queries

The API supports finding the closest hit of a ray segment with the scene (rtcIntersect functions), and determining if any hit between a ray segment and the scene exists (rtcOccluded functions).

void rtcIntersect  (                   RTCScene scene, RTCRay&   ray);
void rtcIntersect4 (const void* valid, RTCScene scene, RTCRay4&  ray);
void rtcIntersect8 (const void* valid, RTCScene scene, RTCRay8&  ray);
void rtcIntersect16(const void* valid, RTCScene scene, RTCRay16& ray);
void rtcOccluded   (                   RTCScene scene, RTCRay&   ray);
void rtcOccluded4  (const void* valid, RTCScene scene, RTCRay4&  ray);
void rtcOccluded8  (const void* valid, RTCScene scene, RTCRay8&  ray);
void rtcOccluded16 (const void* valid, RTCScene scene, RTCRay16& ray);

The ray layout to be passed to the ray tracing core is defined in the embree2/rtcore_ray.h header file. It is up to the user if he wants to use the ray structures defined in that file, or resemble the exact same binary data layout with their own vector classes. The ray layout might change with new Embree releases as new features get added, however, will stay constant as long as the major Embree release number does not change. The ray contains the following data members:

Member In/Out Description


org in ray origin dir in ray direction (can be unnormalized) tnear in start of ray segment tfar in/out end of ray segment, set to hit distance after intersection time in time used for motion blur mask in ray mask to mask out geometries Ng out unnormalized geometry normal u out barycentric u-coordinate of hit v out barycentric v-coordinate of hit geomID out geometry ID of hit geometry primID out primitive ID of hit primitive instID out instance ID of hit instance


: Data fields of a ray.

This structure is in struct of array layout (SOA) for ray packets. Note that the tfar member functions as an input and output.

In the ray packet mode (with packet size of N), the user has to provide a pointer to N 32\ bit integers that act as a ray activity mask. If one of these integers is set to 0x00000000 the corresponding ray is considered inactive and if the integer is set to 0xFFFFFFFF, the ray is considered active. Rays that are inactive will not update any hit information. Data alignment requirements for ray query functions operating on single rays is 16 bytes for the ray.

Data alignment requirements for query functions operating on AOS packets of 4, 8, or 16 rays, is 16, 32, and 64 bytes respectively, for the valid mask and the ray. To operate on packets of 4 rays, the CPU has to support SSE, to operate on packets of 8 rays, the CPU has to support AVX-256, and to operate on packets of 16 rays, the CPU has to support the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessor instructions. Additionally, the required ISA has to be enabled in Embree at compile time to use the desired packet size.

Finding the closest hit distance is done through the rtcIntersect functions. These get the activity mask, the scene, and a ray as input. The user has to initialize the ray origin (org), ray direction (dir), and ray segment (tnear, tfar). The ray segment has to be in the range $[0, ∞)$, thus ranges that start behind the ray origin are not valid, but ranges can reach to infinity. The geometry ID (geomID member) has to get initialized to RTC_INVALID_GEOMETRY_ID (-1). If the scene contains instances, also the instance ID (instID) has to get initialized to RTC_INVALID_GEOMETRY_ID (-1). If the scene contains linear motion blur, also the ray time (time) has to get initialized to a value in the range $[0, 1]$. If ray masks are enabled at compile time, also the ray mask (mask) has to get initialized. After tracing the ray, the hit distance (tfar), geometry normal (Ng), local hit coordinates (u, v), geometry ID (geomID), and primitive ID (primID) are set. If the scene contains instances, also the instance ID (instID) is set, if an instance is hit. The geometry ID corresponds to the ID returned at creation time of the hit geometry, and the primitive ID corresponds to the $n$th primitive of that geometry, e.g. $n$th triangle. The instance ID corresponds to the ID returned at creation time of the instance.

The following code properly sets up a ray and traces it through the scene:

RTCRay ray;
ray.org = ray_origin;
ray.dir = ray_direction;
ray.tnear = 0.f;
ray.tfar = inf;
ray.geomID = RTC_INVALID_GEOMETRY_ID;
ray.primID = RTC_INVALID_GEOMETRY_ID;
ray.instID = RTC_INVALID_GEOMETRY_ID;
ray.mask = 0xFFFFFFFF;
ray.time = 0.f;
rtcIntersect(scene, ray);

Testing if any geometry intersects with the ray segment is done through the rtcOccluded functions. Initialization has to be done as for rtcIntersect. If some geometry got found along the ray segment, the geometry ID (geomID) will get set to 0. Other hit information of the ray is undefined after calling rtcOccluded.

See tutorial Triangle Geometry for an example of how to trace rays.

Interpolation of Vertex Data

Smooth interpolation of per-vertex data is supported for triangle meshes, hair geometry, and subdivision geometry using the rtcInterpolate API call. This interpolation function does ignore displacements and always interpolates the underlying base surface.

void rtcInterpolate(RTCScene scene,
                    unsigned geomID, unsigned primID,
                    float u, float v,
                    RTCBufferType buffer, 
                    float* P, float* dPdu, float* dPdv,
                    size_t numFloats);

This call smoothly interpolates the per-vertex data stored in the specified geometry buffer (buffer parameter) to the u/v location (u and v parameters) of the primitive (primID parameter) of the geometry (geomID parameter) of the specified scene (scene parameter). The interpolation buffer (buffer parameter) has to contain (at least) numFloats floating point values per vertex to interpolate. As interpolation buffer one can specify the RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER0 and RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER1 as well as one of two special user vertex buffers RTC_USER_VERTEX_BUFFER0 and RTC_USER_VERTEX_BUFFER1. These user vertex buffers can only get set using the rtcSetBuffer call, they cannot get managed internally by Embree as they have no default layout. The last element of the buffer has to be padded to 16 bytes, such that it can be read safely using SSE instructions.

The rtcInterpolate call stores numFloats interpolated floating point values to the memory location pointed to by P. The derivative of the interpolation by u and v are stored at dPdu and dPdv. The P pointer can be NULL to avoid calculating the interpolated value. Similar the dPdu and dPdv parameters can both be NULL to not calculate derivatives. If dPdu is NULL also dPdv has to be NULL.

The RTC_INTERPOLATE algorithm flag of a scene has to be enabled to perform interpolations.

It is explicitly allowed to call this function on disabled geometries. This makes it possible to use a separate subdivision mesh with different vertex creases, edge creases, and boundary handling for interpolation of texture coordinates if that is necessary.

The applied interpolation will do linear interpolation for triangle meshes, cubic Bézier interpolation for hair, and apply the full subdivision rules for subdivision geometry.

There is also a second interpolate call rtcInterpolateN that can be used for ray packets.

void rtcInterpolateN(RTCScene scene, unsigned geomID, 
                     const void* valid, const unsigned* primIDs,
                     const float* u, const float* v, size_t numUVs, 
                     RTCBufferType buffer, 
                     float* dP, float* dPdu, float* dPdv,
                     size_t numFloats);

This call is similar to the first version, but gets passed numUVs many u/v coordinates and a valid mask (valid parameter) that specifies which of these coordinates are valid. The valid mask points to numUVs integers and a value of -1 denotes valid and 0 invalid. If the valid pointer is NULL all elements are considers valid. The destination arrays are filled in structure of array (SoA) layout.

See tutorial Interpolation for an example of using the rtcInterpolate function.

Buffer Sharing

Embree supports sharing of buffers with the application. Each buffer that can be mapped for a specific geometry can also be shared with the application, by pass a pointer, offset, and stride of the application side buffer using the rtcSetBuffer API function.

void rtcSetBuffer(RTCScene scene, unsigned geomID, RTCBufferType type,
                  void* ptr, size_t offset, size_t stride);

The rtcSetBuffer function has to get called before any call to rtcMapBuffer for that buffer, otherwise the buffer will get allocated internally and the call to rtcSetBuffer will fail. The buffer has to remain valid as long as the geometry exists, and the user is responsible to free the buffer when the geometry gets deleted. When a buffer is shared, it is safe to modify that buffer without mapping and unmapping it. However, for dynamic scenes one still has to call rtcUpdate for modified geometries and the buffer data has to stay constant from the rtcCommit call to after the last ray query invocation.

The offset parameter specifies a byte offset to the start of the first element and the stride parameter specifies a byte stride between the different elements of the shared buffer. This support for offset and stride allows the application quite some freedom in the data layout of these buffers, however, some restrictions apply. Index buffers always store 32\ bit indices and vertex buffers always store single precision floating point data. The start address ptr+offset and stride always have to be aligned to 4 bytes on Intel® Xeon® CPUs and 16 bytes on Xeon Phi accelerators, otherwise the rtcSetBuffer function will fail.

For vertex buffers (RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER and RTC_USER_VERTEX_BUFFER), the last element must be readable using SSE instructions, thus padding the last element to 16 bytes size is required for some layouts.

The following is an example of how to create a mesh with shared index and vertex buffers:

unsigned geomID = rtcNewTriangleMesh(scene, geomFlags, numTriangles, numVertices);
rtcSetBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER, vertexPtr, 0, 3*sizeof(float));
rtcSetBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER, indexPtr, 0, 3*sizeof(int));

Sharing buffers can significantly reduce the memory required by the application, thus we recommend using this feature. When enabling the RTC_COMPACT scene flag, the spatial index structures of Embree might also share the vertex buffer, resulting in even higher memory savings.

The support for offset and stride is enabled by default, but can get disabled at compile time using the RTCORE_BUFFER_STRIDE parameter in CMake. Disabling this feature enables the default offset and stride which increases performance of spatial index structure build, thus can be useful for dynamic content.

Linear Motion Blur

Triangle meshes and hair geometries with linear motion blur support are created by setting the number of time steps to 2 at geometry construction time. Specifying a number of time steps of 0 or larger than 2 is invalid. For a triangle mesh or hair geometry with linear motion blur, the user has to set the RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER0 and RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER1 vertex arrays, one for each time step.

unsigned geomID = rtcNewTriangleMesh(scene, geomFlags, numTris, numVertices, 2);
rtcSetBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER0, vertex0Ptr, 0, sizeof(Vertex));
rtcSetBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_VERTEX_BUFFER1, vertex1Ptr, 0, sizeof(Vertex));
rtcSetBuffer(scene, geomID, RTC_INDEX_BUFFER, indexPtr, 0, sizeof(Triangle));

If a scene contains geometries with linear motion blur, the user has to set the time member of the ray to a value in the range $[0, 1]$. The ray will intersect the scene with the vertices of the two time steps linearly interpolated to this specified time. Each ray can specify a different time, even inside a ray packet.

User Data Pointer

A user data pointer can be specified and queried per geometry, to efficiently map from the geometry ID returned by ray queries to the application representation for that geometry.

void  rtcSetUserData (RTCScene scene, unsigned geomID, void* ptr);
void* rtcGetUserData (RTCScene scene, unsigned geomID);

The user data pointer of some user defined geometry get additionally passed to the intersect and occluded callback functions of that user geometry. Further, the user data pointer is also passed to intersection filter callback functions attached to some geometry.

The rtcGetUserData function is on purpose not thread safe with respect to other API calls that modify the scene. Consequently, this function can be used to efficiently query the user data pointer during rendering (also by multiple threads), but should not get called while modifying the scene with other threads.

Geometry Mask

A 32\ bit geometry mask can be assigned to triangle meshes and hair geometries using the rtcSetMask call.

rtcSetMask(scene, geomID, mask);

Only if the bitwise and operation of this mask with the mask stored inside the ray is not 0, primitives of this geometry are hit by a ray. This feature can be used to disable selected triangle mesh or hair geometries for specifically tagged rays, e.g. to disable shadow casting for some geometry. This API feature is disabled in Embree by default at compile time, and can be enabled in CMake through the RTCORE_ENABLE_RAY_MASK parameter.

Filter Functions

The API supports per geometry filter callback functions that are invoked for each intersection found during the rtcIntersect or rtcOccluded calls. The former ones are called intersection filter functions, the latter ones occlusion filter functions. The filter functions can be used to implement various useful features, such as accumulating opacity for transparent shadows, counting the number of surfaces along a ray, collecting all hits along a ray, etc. Filter functions can also be used to selectively reject hits to enable backface culling for some geometries. If the backfaces should be culled in general for all geometries then it is faster to enable RTCORE_BACKFACE_CULLING during compilation of Embree instead of using filter functions.

The filter functions provided by the user have to have the following signature:

void FilterFunc  (                   void* userPtr, RTCRay&   ray);
void FilterFunc4 (const void* valid, void* userPtr, RTCRay4&  ray);
void FilterFunc8 (const void* valid, void* userPtr, RTCRay8&  ray);
void FilterFunc16(const void* valid, void* userPtr, RTCRay16& ray);

The valid pointer points to a valid mask of the same format as expected as input by the ray query functions. The userPtr is a user pointer optionally set per geometry through the rtcSetUserData function. The ray passed to the filter function is the ray structure initially provided to the ray query function by the user. For that reason, it is safe to extend the ray by additional data and access this data inside the filter function (e.g. to accumulate opacity). All hit information inside the ray is valid. If the hit geometry is instanced, the instID member of the ray is valid and the ray origin, direction, and geometry normal visible through the ray are in object space. The filter function can reject a hit by setting the geomID member of the ray to RTC_INVALID_GEOMETRY_ID, otherwise the hit is accepted. The filter function is not allowed to modify the ray input data (org, dir, tnear, tfar), but can modify the hit data of the ray (u, v, Ng, geomID, primID).

The intersection filter functions for different ray types are set for some geometry of a scene using the following API functions:

void rtcSetIntersectionFilterFunction  (RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCFilterFunc  );
void rtcSetIntersectionFilterFunction4 (RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCFilterFunc4 );
void rtcSetIntersectionFilterFunction8 (RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCFilterFunc8 );
void rtcSetIntersectionFilterFunction16(RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCFilterFunc16);

These functions are invoked during execution of the rtcIntersect type queries of the matching ray type. The occlusion filter functions are set using the following API functions:

void rtcSetOcclusionFilterFunction  (RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCFilterFunc  );
void rtcSetOcclusionFilterFunction4 (RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCFilterFunc4 );
void rtcSetOcclusionFilterFunction8 (RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCFilterFunc8 );
void rtcSetOcclusionFilterFunction16(RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCFilterFunc16);

See tutorial Intersection Filter for an example of how to use the filter functions.

Displacement Mapping Functions

The API supports displacement mapping for subdivision meshes. A displacement function can be set for some subdivision mesh using the rtcSetDisplacementFunction API call.

void rtcSetDisplacementFunction(RTCScene, unsigned geomID, RTCDisplacementFunc, RTCBounds*);

A displacement function of NULL will delete an already set displacement function. The bounds parameter is optional. If NULL is passed as bounds, then the displacement shader will get evaluated during the build process to properly bound displaced geometry. If a pointer to some bounds of the displacement are passed, then the implementation can choose to use these bounds to bound displaced geometry. When bounds are specified, then these bounds have to be conservative and should be tight for best performance.

The displacement function has to have the following type:

typedef void (*RTCDisplacementFunc)(void* ptr, unsigned geomID, unsigned primID,   
                                    const float* u,  const float* v,    
                                    const float* nx, const float* ny, const float* nz,   
                                    float* px, float* py, float* pz,         
                                    size_t N);

The displacement function is called with the user data pointer of the geometry (ptr), the geometry ID (geomID) and primitive ID (primID) of a patch to displace. For this patch, a number N of points to displace are specified in a struct of array layout. For each point to displace the local patch UV coordinates (u and v arrays), the normalized geometry normal (nx, ny, and nz arrays), as well as world space position (px, py, and pz arrays) are provided. The task of the displacement function is to use this information and move the world space position inside the allowed specified bounds around the point.

All passed arrays are guaranteed to be 64 bytes aligned, and properly padded to make wide vector processing inside the displacement function possible.

The displacement mapping functions might get called during the rtcCommit call, or lazily during the rtcIntersect or rtcOccluded calls.

Also see tutorial Displacement Geometry for an example of how to use the displacement mapping functions.

Sharing Threads with Embree

On some implementations, Embree supports using the application threads when building internal data structures, by using the

void rtcCommitThread(RTCScene, unsigned threadIndex, unsigned threadCount);

API call to commit the scene. This function has to get called by all threads that want to cooperate in the scene commit. Each call is provided the scene to commit, the index of the calling thread in the range [0, threadCount-1], and the number of threads that will call into this commit operation for the scene. All threads will return again from this function after the scene commit is finished.

Multiple such scene commit operations can also be running at the same time, e.g. it is possible to commit many small scenes in parallel using one thread per commit operation. Subsequent commit operations for the same scene can use different number of threads in the rtcCommitThread or use the Embree internal threads using the rtcCommit call.

Note: When using Embree with the Intel® Threading Building Blocks (which is the default) you should not use the rtcCommitThread function. Sharing of your threads with TBB is not possible and TBB will always generate its own set of threads. We recommend to also use TBB inside your application to share threads with the Embree library. When using TBB inside your application do never use the rtcCommitThread function.

Note: When enabling the Embree internal tasking system the rtcCommitThread feature will work as expected and use the application threads for hierarchy building.

Note: On the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessor the rtcCommitThread feature is recommended to be used.

Join Build Operation

If rtcCommit is called multiple times from different threads on the same scene, then all these threads will join the same scene build operation.

This feature allows a flexible way to lazily create hierarchies during rendering. A thread reaching a not yet constructed sub-scene of a two-level scene, can generate the sub-scene geometry and call rtcCommit on that just generated scene. During construction, further threads reaching the not-yet-built scene, can join the build operation by also invoking rtcCommit. A thread that calls rtcCommit after the build finishes, will directly return from the rtcCommit call (even for static scenes).

Note: Due to some limitation of the task_arena implementation of the Intel® Threading Building Blocks, threads that call rtcCommit to join a running build will just wait for the build to finish. Thus the join mode does just not work properly when using TBB, and might cause the build to run sequential (if all threads want to join).

Note: The join mode works properly with the internal tasking scheduler of Embree.

Memory Monitor Callback

Using the memory monitor callback mechanism, the application can track the memory consumption of an Embree device, and optionally terminate API calls that consume too much memory.

The user provided memory monitor callback function has to have the following signature:

bool (*RTCMemoryMonitorFunc)(const ssize_t bytes, const bool post);

A single such callback function per device can be registered by calling

rtcDeviceSetMemoryMonitorFunction(RTCDevice device, RTCMemoryMonitorFunc func);

and deregistered again by calling it with NULL. Once registered the Embree device will invoke the callback function before or after it allocates or frees important memory blocks. The callback function might get called from multiple threads concurrently.

The application can track the current memory usage of the Embree device by atomically accumulating the provided bytes input parameter. This parameter will be >0 for allocations and <0 for deallocations. The post input parameter is true if the callback function was invoked after the allocation or deallocation, otherwise it is false.

Embree will continue its operation normally when returning true from the callback function. If false is returned, Embree will cancel the current operation with the RTC_OUT_OF_MEMORY error code. Cancelling will only happen when the callback was called for allocations (bytes > 0), otherwise the cancel request will be ignored. If a callback that was invoked before the allocation happens (post == false) cancels the operation, then the bytes parameter should not get accumulated, as the allocation will never happen. If a callback that was called after the allocation happened (post == true) cancels the operation, then the bytes parameter should get accumulated, as the allocation properly happened. Issuing multiple cancel requests for the same operation is allowed.

Progress Monitor Callback

The progress monitor callback mechanism can be used to report progress of hierarchy build operations and to cancel long lasting build operations.

The user provided progress monitor callback function has to have the following signature:

bool (*RTCProgressMonitorFunc)(void* userPtr, const double n);

A single such callback function can be registered per scene by calling

rtcSetProgressMonitorFunction(RTCScene, RTCProgressMonitorFunc, void* userPtr);

and deregistered again by calling it with NULL for the callback function. Once registered Embree will invoke the callback function multiple times during hierarchy build operations of the scene, by providing the userPtr pointer that was set at registration time, and a double n in the range $[0, 1]$ estimating the completion amount of the operation. The callback function might get called from multiple threads concurrently.

When returning true from the callback function, Embree will continue the build operation normally. When returning false Embree will cancel the build operation with the RTC_CANCELLED error code. Issuing multiple cancel requests for the same build operation is allowed.

Configuring Embree

Some internal device parameters can get configured using the rtcDeviceSetParameter1i API call.

Currently we support to configure the size of the internal software cache that is used to handle subdivision surfaces by setting the RTC_SOFTWARE_CACHE_SIZE parameter to the desired size of the cache in bytes:

rtcDeviceSetParameter1i(device, RTC_SOFTWARE_CACHE_SIZE, bytes);

The software cache cannot get configured while any Embree API call is executed. Best configure the size of the cache only once at application start.

Limiting number of Build Threads

You can use the TBB API to limit the number of threads used by Embree during hierarchy construction. Therefore just create a global taskscheduler_init object, initialized with the number of threads to use:

#include <tbb/tbb.h>

tbb::task_scheduler_init init(numThreads);

Embree Tutorials

Embree comes with a set of tutorials aimed at helping users understand how Embree can be used and extended. All tutorials exist in an ISPC and C version to demonstrate the two versions of the API. Look for files named tutorialname_device.ispc for the ISPC implementation of the tutorial, and files named tutorialname_device.cpp for the single ray C++ version of the tutorial. To start the C++ version use the tutorialname executables, to start the ISPC version use the tutorialname_ispc executables.

Under Linux Embree also comes with an ISPC version of all tutorials for the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessor. The executables of this version of the tutorials are named tutorialname_xeonphi and only work if a Xeon Phi™ coprocessor is present in the system. The Xeon Phi™ version of the tutorials get started on the host CPU, just like all other tutorials, and will connect automatically to one installed Xeon Phi™ coprocessor in the system. For the Intel® Xeon Phi™ coprocessor to find to Embree library you have to add the path to libembree_xeonphi.so to the SINK_LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable.

For all tutorials, you can select an initial camera using the -vp (camera position), -vi (camera look-at point), -vu (camera up vector), and -fov (vertical field of view) command line parameters:

./triangle_geometry -vp 10 10 10 -vi 0 0 0

You can select the initial windows size using the -size command line parameter, or start the tutorials in fullscreen using the -fullscreen parameter:

./triangle_geometry -size 1024 1024
./triangle_geometry -fullscreen

Implementation specific parameters can be passed to the ray tracing core through the -rtcore command line parameter, e.g.:

./triangle_geometry -rtcore verbose=2,threads=1,accel=bvh4.triangle1

The navigation in the interactive display mode follows the camera orbit model, where the camera revolves around the current center of interest. With the left mouse button you can rotate around the center of interest (the point initially set with -vi). Holding Control pressed while clicking the left mouse button rotates the camera around its location. You can also use the arrow keys for navigation.

You can use the following keys:

F1 : Default shading

F2 : Gray EyeLight shading

F3 : Wireframe shading

F4 : UV Coordinate visualization

F5 : Geometry normal visualization

F6 : Geometry ID visualization

F7 : Geometry ID and Primitive ID visualization

F8 : Simple shading with 16 rays per pixel for benchmarking.

F9 : Switches to render cost visualization. Pressing again reduces brightness.

F10 : Switches to render cost visualization. Pressing again increases brightness.

f : Enters or leaves full screen mode.

c : Prints camera parameters.

ESC : Exits the tutorial.

q : Exits the tutorial.

Triangle Geometry

This tutorial demonstrates the creation of a static cube and ground plane using triangle meshes. It also demonstrates the use of the rtcIntersect and rtcOccluded functions to render primary visibility and hard shadows. The cube sides are colored based on the ID of the hit primitive.

Dynamic Scene

This tutorial demonstrates the creation of a dynamic scene, consisting of several deformed spheres. Half of the spheres use the RTC_GEOMETRY_DEFORMABLE flag, which allows Embree to use a refitting strategy for these spheres, the other half uses the RTC_GEOMETRY_DYNAMIC flag, causing a rebuild of their spatial data structure each frame. The spheres are colored based on the ID of the hit sphere geometry.

User Geometry

This tutorial shows the use of user defined geometry, to re-implement instancing and to add analytic spheres. A two level scene is created, with a triangle mesh as ground plane, and several user geometries, that instance other scenes with a small number of spheres of different kind. The spheres are colored using the instance ID and geometry ID of the hit sphere, to demonstrate how the same geometry, instanced in different ways can be distinguished.

Viewer

This tutorial demonstrates a simple OBJ viewer that traces primary visibility rays only. A scene consisting of multiple meshes is created, each mesh sharing the index and vertex buffer with the application. Demonstrated is also how to support additional per vertex data, such as shading normals.

You need to specify an OBJ file at the command line for this tutorial to work:

./viewer -i model.obj

Instanced Geometry

This tutorial demonstrates the in-build instancing feature of Embree, by instancing a number of other scenes build from triangulated spheres. The spheres are again colored using the instance ID and geometry ID of the hit sphere, to demonstrate how the same geometry, instanced in different ways can be distinguished.

Intersection Filter

This tutorial demonstrates the use of filter callback functions to efficiently implement transparent objects. The filter function used for primary rays, lets the ray pass through the geometry if it is entirely transparent. Otherwise the shading loop handles the transparency properly, by potentially shooting secondary rays. The filter function used for shadow rays accumulates the transparency of all surfaces along the ray, and terminates traversal if an opaque occluder is hit.

Pathtracer

This tutorial is a simple path tracer, building on the viewer tutorial.

You need to specify an OBJ file and light source at the command line for this tutorial to work:

./pathtracer -i model.obj -ambientlight 1 1 1

As example models we provide the "Austrian Imperial Crown" model by Martin Lubich and the "Asian Dragon" model from the Stanford 3D Scanning Repository.

crown.zip

asian_dragon.zip

To render these models execute the following:

./pathtracer -c crown/crown.ecs
./pathtracer -c asian_dragon/asian_dragon.ecs

Hair

This tutorial demonstrates the use of the hair geometry to render a hairball.

Subdivision Geometry

This tutorial demonstrates the use of Catmull Clark subdivision surfaces. Per default the edge tessellation level is set adaptively based on the distance to the camera origin. Embree currently supports three different modes for efficiently handling subdivision surfaces in various rendering scenarios. These three modes can be selected at the command line, e.g. -lazy builds internal per subdivision patch data structures on demand, -cache uses a small (per thread) tessellation cache for caching per patch data, and -pregenerate to generate and store most per patch data during the initial build process. The cache mode is most effective for coherent rays while providing a fixed memory footprint. The pregenerate modes is most effective for incoherent ray distributions while requiring more memory. The lazy mode works similar to the pregenerate mode but provides a middle ground in terms of memory consumption as it only builds and stores data only when the corresponding patch is accessed during the ray traversal. The cache mode is currently a bit more efficient at handling dynamic scenes where only the edge tessellation levels are changing per frame.

Displacement Geometry

This tutorial demonstrates the use of Catmull Clark subdivision surfaces with procedural displacement mapping using a constant edge tessellation level.

Motion Blur Geometry

This tutorial demonstrates rendering motion blur using the linear motion blur feature for triangles and hair geometry.

Interpolation

This tutorial demonstrates interpolation of user defined per vertex data.

BVH Builder

This tutorial demonstrates how to use the templated hierarchy builders of Embree to build a bounding volume hierarchy with a user defined memory layout using a high quality SAH builder and very fast morton builder.

BVH Access

This tutorial demonstrates how to access the internal triangle acceleration structure build by Embree. Please be aware that the internal Embree data structures might change between Embree updates.

Find Embree

This tutorial demonstrates how to use the FIND_PACKAGE CMake feature to use an installed Embree. Under Linux and Mac\ OS\ X the tutorial finds the Embree installation automatically, under Windows the embree_DIR CMake variable has to be set to the following folder of the Embree installation: C:\Program Files\Intel\Embree X.Y.Z\lib\cmake\embree-X.Y.Z.