Realtime Global Illumination techniques collection

by Martin Thomas

What does this list contain?

So I decided to do a little research on realtime (mostly) global illumination techniques, and compile a little list here.

If you have any suggestions, or any techniques that I may have missed please let me know.

Note that I deliberately excluded path tracing, ray tracing or photon mapping based techniques.

Also I’ll try to focus on techniques that allow dynamic scene AND dynamic lighting in realtime.

Realtime should mean at least 30 fps on the latest hardware in 1080p.

Voxel Cone Tracing Global Illumination

Voxel Cone Tracing Global Illumination

Reflective Shadow Maps

Original paper:

Splatting version:

Multiresolution splatting version (from GPU pro):

Paper on optimization:


Clustered visibility:

A demo:

Several techniques (rsm, lpv, voxel gi):

Voxel Cone Tracing

Original papers:



Additional papers:


Demo with source:


Blog post(s) about it:

Layered Reflective Shadow Maps

[UPDATE] Original paper and video:

Note: this is a similar technique to voxel cone tracing, quality is similar, performance seems to be worse overall, but I think there’s room for more tricks… Oh, and surprisingly it runs on an Intel Iris pro (at 200ms 🙂 )

Light propagation volumes

Original papers:


VPL based:



+ there’s a sample in the nvidia DX11 sdk


In Fable Legends:


Original paper:


Note that this is not really a GI solution rather a local GI solution where local means that it works well on small details, but it fails to grab the whole picture…

Deferred radiance transfer volumes

Original paper:

Demo at:

Radiance hints method

Original paper:

[FIXED] playable at: