Artificial lens flare is an important part of making certain computer generated scenes look realistic, but up to this point creating realistic lens flare has been a task that requires a good deal of processing power. Now, researchers have come up with a way to simulating lens flare quickly and accurately, taking into account a large number of physical factors that cause the phenomenon:
The underlying model covers many components that are important for realism, such as imperfections, chromatic and geometric lens aberrations, and antireflective lens coatings.
The video above discusses how the technology works, and also touches on the science behind lens flares. The method is patent-pending, and will be presented later this year at SIGGRAPH 2011.
Physically-Based Real-Time Lens Flare Rendering [Max-Planck-Institut Informatik]