Global illumination is a current topic in research. Through the development of the "LightSkin" method by Philipp Lensing, we as a specialist area are part of this research process. Core elements of our research are the real-time capability of the algorithms with a realistic representation. This allows the use in different contexts. One is the combination of Augmented Reality (AR) with Global Illumination (GI).

In nature, every interaction of light with matter is embedded in a global context, which is why all natural lighting phenomena in our environment are the result of global illumination.

Insight into the developed procedure LightSkin

The basic idea of the method is to extend an instant radiosity approach, such as the Reflective Shadow maps, in such a way that a continuous indirect lighting for the entire scene can be calculated in real time without producing disturbing artifacts in animations and without limiting the sphere of influence of the indirect light (e.g. by restricting the propagation of the indirect light).

The LightSkin method has the following advantages or innovations compared to existing global real-time lighting methods:

  • Imaging of physically plausible diffuse indirect reflections
  • Imaging of optically plausible shiny indirect reflections,
  • Imaging of soft shadows,
  • Mapping of multiple subsurface scattering effects,
  • significant reduction of temporary inconsistencies in animations,
  • Support of animations without additional computing effort,
  • low memory requirements,
  • a simple adaptation for Augmented Reality applications for photometric interaction between dynamic real and virtual scenes using an RGB-D sensor
Screenshot of the method developed here for global real-time illumination.

Further remarks

Doctoral thesis:

LightSkin: Globale Echtzeitbeleuchtung für Virtual und Augmented Reality von Philipp Lensing


LightSkin: Real-Time Global Illumination for Virtual and Mixed Reality

Efficient Shading of Indirect Illumination Applying Reflective Shadow Maps

Instant Indirect Illumination for Dynamic Mixed Reality Scenes



If you are interested you can contact us at:

Tobias Schwandt

Technische Universität Ilmenau

Department of Economic Sciences and Media

Group Virtual Worlds and Digital Games

Ehrenbergstraße 29

D-98693 Ilmenau

Room: EAZ 2316 (Ernst Abbe Centre)

Phone: +49 3677 69-4604 Fax: +49 3677 69-4724 E-mail: