Unreal Realities: Non-Photorealistic Rendering in Virtual Reality

Peter Mills & Justin Carter Part of CW17

Virtual Reality (VR) is a rapidly growing field, disrupting many industries, such as video games, engineering, architecture, and medical visualization. Designing VR experiences involves the use of digital technology and rendered 3D graphics to create immersive virtual environments. While traditional user interfaces require users to view and interact with a screen, VR places the user inside a virtual environment through the use of a head mounted display (HMD). This form of user interface has implications on how rendered graphics are perceived and interpreted. One rendering technique used extensively in design and construction of virtual environments is Non-Photorealistic Rendering (NPR). NPR is primarily concerned with providing opportunity for a wide variety of expressive rendering styles such as toon, hatching and outline shaders.

This paper examines Non-Photorealistic Rendering techniques for virtual reality experiences, specifically focusing on strategies applied to achieve characteristics of toon, hatching and outline shaders, in virtual reality contexts. Through first identifying the common features traditionally used for NPR and then reconstructing these features in a virtual reality context the project illuminates unique considerations for practitioners implementing NPR effects in VR.