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authors

Bishop, G. and Weimer, D.M.

year

1986

title

Fast Phong Shading

source

Computer Graphics (20) 4 pp. 103-106

summary

Computer image generation systems often represent curved surfaces as a mesh of polygons that are shaded to restore a smooth appearance. Phong shading is a well known algorithm for producing a realistic shading but it has not been used by real-time systems because of the 3 additions, 1 division and 1 square root required per pixel for its evaluation. We describe a new formulation for Phong shading that reduces the amount of computation per pixel to only 2 additions for simple Lambertian reflection and 5 additions and 1 memory reference for Phong's complete reflection model. We also show how to extend our method to compute the specular component with the eye at a finite distance from the scene rather than at infinity as is usually assumed. The method can be implemented in hardware for real-time applications or in software to speed image generation for almost any system.