Lytro glossary #3

Here’s our third installment of Lytro’s glossary of frequently used terms to help educate and inform about VR, cinematography, digital imaging, photography and light. We’re expanding this glossary as relevant terms arise. Our intent is to add some context about how these things relate to what we do at Lytro. This glossary is a work in progress, so please feel free to share any terms you think might be worthy to add.


ray tracing

Ray tracing is a rendering technique for creating realistic 2D images from 3D objects in a scene. The process accurately determines the color and brightness of each pixel in an image by tracing the path of light rays to the light source as they bounce through the scene. The rays are traced from the image plane (referred to as “backward”) to efficiently calculate only the rays that will actually be used to create that image.

volume tracer

Lytro’s Volume Tracer (Lytro VT) is a processing technique used to generate a 6DoF Light Field volume from rendered 2D samples of a 3D scene (these samples can be ray traced or rendered using any 3D render engine). During the process, light rays from the 2D samples are traced from the viewer’s perspective outward in all directions and positions within a 3D viewing volume. The resulting Light Field data can be viewed in a 6DoF HMD via the Lytro player delivering a CG experience in VR at cinematic levels of visual quality.

view volume sample

A view volume sample is a rendered 2D image of a 3D scene, from a virtual camera placed inside a view volume in that scene. To sample every viewpoint of the scene, a sufficient set of 2D images are rendered in every direction and position within the volume. The view volume samples can include objects both outside of and entering into that volume.




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Lytro is building the world’s most powerful Light Field imaging platform enabling artists, scientists and innovators to pursue their goals with an unprecedented level of freedom and control.

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