Tree Branch Level of Detail Models for Forest Navigation

Abstract : We present a level of detail (LOD) method designed for tree branches. It can be combined with methods for processing tree foliage to facilitate navigation through large virtual forests. Starting from a skeletal representation of a tree, we fit polygon meshes of various densities to the skeleton while the mesh density is adjusted according to the required visual fidelity. For distant models, these branch meshes are gradually replaced with semi‐transparent lines until the tree recedes to a few lines. Construction of these complete LOD models is guided by error metrics to ensure smooth transitions between adjacent LOD models. We then present an instancing technique for discrete LOD branch models, consisting of polygon meshes plus semi‐transparent lines. Line models with different transparencies are instanced on the GPU by merging multiple tree samples into a single model. Our technique reduces the number of draw calls in GPU and increases rendering performance. Our experiments demonstrate that large‐scale forest scenes can be rendered with excellent detail and shadows in real time.
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Xiaopeng Zhang, Guanbo Bao, Weiliang Meng, Marc Jaeger, Hongjun Li, et al.. Tree Branch Level of Detail Models for Forest Navigation. Computer Graphics Forum, Wiley, 2017, 36 (8), pp.402-417. ⟨10.1111/cgf.13088⟩. ⟨lirmm-01925641⟩

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