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In ray-tracing technique critical point is to calculate rays which came out from eye $E$ to target $T$ through pixel $P_{ij}$ on viewport. The "viewport" is represented as rectangle divided to square pixels - this rectangle is perpendicular to line which go through points $E$, $C$ (viewport center) and $T$. The ray (red line on image) is represented by point $E$ and unit vector $r_{ij}$ (not shown in picture but it lay on red line) - below is picture which show "geometry" - but what are the formulas to calculate $r_{ij}$?

The given input values are:

  • eye position $E$,
  • target position $T$,
  • field of view $\theta$ (angle, for human eye $\approx 90^\circ$),
  • number of square pixels $k$ (horizontal direction) and $m$ (vertical direction).
  • we also know vertical $w$ vector usually equal to $w=[wx,wy,wz]=[0,1,0]$ (not shown on picture) which indicate where is up and where is down

The orthogonal vectors $v$ and $b$ (and $t$) on picture are determined by $w$ and $t=T-E$ and maybe will useful in $r_{ij}$ calculations. The $d$ and pixel size is arbitrary and don't change the result because of fixed $\theta$.

Question: How to calculate unit vector $r_{ij}$ knowing input values described above?

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ What exactly is it that you want to know? $\endgroup$ – amd Jan 16 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ @amd I update question - now it is more clear? $\endgroup$ – Kamil Kiełczewski Jan 16 at 6:08
  • $\begingroup$ This is described in almost all tutorials and books on the subject. $\endgroup$ – lightxbulb Jan 16 at 6:45
  • $\begingroup$ @lightxbulb In all sources that I know - there are similar description to above, but no explicite formulas $\endgroup$ – Kamil Kiełczewski Jan 16 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ Scratchapixel, pbrt-book, ray tracing in one weekend are all free access, and all of those explain how this is done. $\endgroup$ – lightxbulb Jan 16 at 7:29
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IDEA: lets find position of center of each pixel $P_{ij}$ which allows us to easily find ray which starts at $E$ and go thought that pixel. To do it we find first $P_{1m}$ and find others by move on vievports plane.

ASSUMPTION: Below we introduce formulas which includes distance $d$ between eye and viewport however this value will be reduced during ray $r_{ij}$ normalization (so you might as well accept that $d=1$ and remove it from calculations).

PRECALCULATIONS: First we calculate normalized vectors $v_n, b_n$ from picutre (which are parallel to viewport plane and give as direction for shifting)

$$t = T-E, \qquad b = w\times t $$

$$ t_n = \frac{t}{||t||}, \qquad b_n = \frac{b}{||b||}, \qquad v_n = t_n\times b_n \\ $$

notice: $C=E+t_nd$, then we calculate viewport size divided by 2 and including aspect ratio $\frac{m}{k}$

$$g_x=\frac{h_x}{2} =d \tan \frac{\theta}{2}, \qquad g_y =\frac{h_y}{2} = g_x \frac{m}{k}$$

and then we calculate shifting vectors $q_x,q_y$ on viewport $x,y$ direction and viewport left upper pixel

$$ q_x = \frac{2g_x}{k-1}b_n, \qquad q_y = \frac{2g_y}{m-1}v_n, \qquad p_{1m} = t_n d - g_xb_n - g_yv_n$$

CALCULATIONS: notice that $P_{ij} = E + p_{ij}$ and ray $R_{ij} = P_{ij} -E = p_{ij}$ so normalized ray $r_{ij}$ is

$$ p_{ij} = p_{1m} + q_x(i-1) + q_y(j-1)$$ $$ r_{ij} = \frac{p_{ij}}{||p_{ij}||} $$

TEST: above formulas wast tested here (works in browser)

SUMMARY: The above form is convenient to use it in shaders where in shader kernel we perform only final calculation based on prcarculated $q_x,q_y$ and $p_{1m}$. Wiki here.

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