Making Global Illumination User Friendly
Global illumination researchers tend to think in terms of mesh density and sampling frequency, and their software reflects this in its user interface. Advanced rendering systems are rife with long command lines and parameters for tuning the sample densities, thresholds and other algorithm-specific variables, and the novice user is quickly lost in a sea of possibilities. This paper details a successful effort of making one such global illumination system usable by people who understand their problems, even if they do not understand the methods needed to solve them, through an assisted oracle approach. A single program is introduced to map a small set of intuitive control variables to the rendering commands and parameter settings needed to produce the desired output in a reasonable time. This new executive program then serves as the basis for a graphical user interface that is both friendly in its appearance and reliable in its performance. Finally, we conclude with some future directions for improving this interface.