In real time rendering the most commonly used method is incremental image synthesis, which relies on the rasterization of linear primitives, most importantly triangle meshes. Procedural methods are able to create large and extremely detailed models, the conversion of which to triangle meshes would be impractical because of the need for adaptive level-of-detail solutions. However, such procedural models often can be constructed as a distance field, which provides the distance to the surface for every point in space. Models constructed like this can be displayed using ray tracing without choosing the level-of-detail manually.
The aim of this thesis is to research geometries that can be defined as distance fields and explore how they can be used to create terrain and plants efficiently.
In the first part I review the ray tracing of distance fields. I formulate the distance field functions for simple geometric shapes, fractals and point clouds.
In the second part I present the implementation of an application to display terrain and trees using only distance fields. I also present a modeling tool for the free creation of distance field tree models.
Finally, I examine the possibilities to display triangle meshes and distance based models simultaneously, and summarize the results.