A method of producing realistic lighting, shading and shadowing in diffuse environments, while allowing users to walk through the scenes interactively.
The radiosity method of generating computer graphics addresses the particular qualities of diffusely reflecting objects, such as carpets and painted walls. Diffusely reflecting objects reflect light with equal intensity in all directions, rather than along a single path. Ray tracing, conversely, is best suited for showing the lighting of reflective surfaces, such as mirrors. Ray tracing also tends to ignore surface light that results from the reflection of light off other surfaces. Radiosity does not render an image. Rather, it divides an environment into small patches and determines the radiant energy between them. Radiosity allows interactive, real-time viewing of an environment from many different angles, but it cannot provide highlights, refraction or reflection.