Real-Time Rendering with Lighting Grid Hierarchy

Proceedings of ACM on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (Proceedings of I3D 2019)

Daqi Lin, Cem Yuksel


We present an extension of the lighting grid hierarchy method for real-time rendering with many lights on the GPU. We describe efficient methods for parallel construction of the lighting grid hierarchy and using it with deferred rending.We also present a method for estimating shadows from many lights with a small number of shadow samples using the ray tracing API on the GPU. We show how our approach can be used for real-time global illumination computation with virtual point lights.


An example frame rendered using our real-time global illumination solution with one million virtual point lights, computed by our method, using α = 2 and 4 × 4 interleaved sampling. The render time is 24 ms on an NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU at 1280 × 720 resolution.

[Paper - Preprint]
[Paper - Preprint (High Quality)]
[Lighting Grid Hierarchy (SIGGRAPH 2017) Project Webpage]
[Source Code]


Comparison of rendering time using different scenes and different settings. All scenes are rendered using lighting grid hierarchy generated from 100k VPLs, with no interleaved sampling and α = 1. The reported render times do not include VPL generation and lighting grid hierarchy construction. Models downloaded from Morgan McGuire’s Computer Graphics Archive (



We thank Morgan McGuire for providing the scene files we used in our tests and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback.


   author       = {Daqi Lin and Cem Yuksel},
   title        = {Real-Time Rendering with Lighting Grid Hierarchy},
   journal      = {Proc. ACM Comput. Graph. Interact. Tech. (Proceedings of I3D 2019)},
   year         = {2019},
   volume       = {2},
   number       = {1},
   pages        = {8:1--8:17},
   articleno    = {8},
   numpages     = {17},
   location     = {Montreal, Quebec, Canada},
   url          = {},
   doi          = {10.1145/3321361},
   publisher    = {ACM Press},
   address      = {New York, NY, USA},