In Advanced Graphics, Spring '95, we studied ray tracing, radiosity, and other photo-realistic techniques for computers. Of course, we may think this is photo-realistic, but in ten years we will all be laughing about the image quality. (Original images are 1024 by 1024 by 24 bit color. Very nice to see.)
These ray tracings are formed by starting from the eye point (the camera position) and sending a sight ray through each pixel of the picture. The sight ray bounces off objects with different surface characteristics and return any photon energy to the sender. Bitmaps may be used to color objects or specify their transparency.
Click on the image to get a 512 x 512 x 256 image.
Notice the shine in the Van Gogh. Notice the mistake in the soup label.
Bitmaps specify transparency information for the windows, the earth, and the coral sphere.
Notice the soft shadows cast by the balls. The 3 ball has a sharper shadow than the window sill because it is closer to the wall.
Another display of soft shadows. Picasso is thrown in for free.