Rendering light fields for optical system simulation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The light field describes the radiance at a given point provided by a ray coming from a particular direction. Integrating the light field for all possible rays passing through that point gives total irradiance. For a static scene, the light field is unique. Cameras act as integrators of the light field. Previously, it was demonstrated that freeware rendering software can be used to simulate the light field entering an arbitrary camera lens. This is accomplished by placing an array of ideal pinhole cameras at the entrance pupil location and rendering. The pinhole camera images encode the ray directions for rays passing through the pinholes. The set of images from this array then describes the light field. Images for real camera lenses with different types of aberrations are then simulated directly from the light field. The advantage of this technique is that the light field only needs to be calculated once for a given scene. Calculation of the light field is computationally expensive and the practicality of implementing high resolution light field simulations on a desktop computer is limited. However, cloud-based rendering services with arrays of CPUs and GPUs are now readily available and affordable. These services enable more realistic simulations and different scenes to be rapidly created. Here, the techniques are demonstrated for different real lens aberration forms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNovel Optical Systems, Methods, and Applications XXII
EditorsCornelius F. Hahlweg, Joseph R. Mulley
ISBN (Electronic)9781510629035
StatePublished - 2019
Event22nd Annual Conference for Novel Optical Systems, Methods, and Applications 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 13 2019Aug 14 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Conference22nd Annual Conference for Novel Optical Systems, Methods, and Applications 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Aberrations
  • Image simulation
  • Light field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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