Bonsai: Rapid Bounding Volume Hierarchy Generation using Mini Trees

Per Ganestam
Intel Corporation /
Lund University

Rasmus Barringer
Lund University

Michael Doggett
Lund University

Tomas Akenine-Möller
Intel Corporation /
Lund University

Journal of Computer Graphics Techniques, vol. 4, no. 3, 2015

Abstract

We present an algorithm, called Bonsai, for rapidly building bounding volume hierarchies for ray tracing. Our method starts by computing midpoints of the triangle bounding boxes and then performs a rough hierarchical top-down split using the midpoints, creating triangle groups with tight bounding boxes. For each triangle group, a mini tree is built using an improved sweep SAH method. Once all mini trees have been built, we use them as leaves when building the top tree of the bounding volume hierarchy. We also introduce a novel and inexpensive optimization technique, called mini-tree pruning, that can be used to detect and improve poorly built parts of the tree. We achieve a little better than 100% in ray-tracing performance compared to a "ground truth" greedy top-down sweep SAH method, and our build times are the lowest we have seen with comparable tree quality.

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