This could be too soon to sugest but would put BLENDER beoynd that of any other 3D system at this level.
Intel have developed new Light Field Mapping (LFM) technology.
It can create amazing realistic results and its open source!!
Further info and tool kit at:
Wow, that looks pretty cool. Not sure how it works exactly, but from the short blurb on the site it seems like a fairly trivial thing (it maps out light levels over lower resolution versions of the world, and applies the map to the world via a texture channel), but I'm probably oversimplifying things. Heck, it's open source, and would help make stuff look better, so why not?
LFM looks very good indeed! The few images displayed on the site are great. If there is some way of implementing the technology into Blender, it would be a great forward step towards making Blender the best!
This looks like great stuff
... But it is no replacement for a raytracer (faster, but not same qualaty)
When all the development really gets started, you might have to remind people of this
Raytracer, LFM its all a bit above my head, but would it add too much bulk to have a choice in Blender as to what to use. I think Blenders great at the moment, infact let me rephrase that i thinks its THE BEST. But i dont think that there are enough choices in Blender. Allthough now thinking about it there are plenty of buttons
. Ok maybe there are choices but they all seem a little compolex, more documentation is needed to take Blender shooting ahead.
It seems that there is a bit of a misconception about Light Field Mapping. Light Field Mapping is kind of like the light-mapping in computer games (in light-mapping they pre-calculate and store light values, so that they don't have to calculate them at run-time), except that LFM is A LOT more sophisticated, because it pre-calculates and stores the entire "field" of light, so that there can be view-dependant lighting effects (such as specular highlights).
I am simplifying things a lot, here, but that's the gist of it.
Anyway, the point is that LFM is intended as a tool for storing and using pre-calculated lighting in real-time graphics. Thus, it would only be useful for the game engine. It would *not* be at all useful for the non-realtime blender renderer (i.e. the unified renderer and such). But yes, it would be cool to have in the game engine.