Real-Time Rendering with Lighting Grid Hierarchy

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

Daqi LinCem Yuksel
University of UtahUniversity of Utah
[Paper - Preprint]
[Paper - Preprint (High Quality)]
[Lighting Grid Hierarchy (SIGGRAPH 2017) Project Webpage]
[Source Code]


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.


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},