THE
RELATIVISTIC RAYTRACER
Click to view 640x480 version
Antony Searle, Australian National University Physics Department, Distinguished Scholars in Science Program

GOAL 
  • The Relativistic Raytracer project was initiated at Easter 1997 with the aim of producing computer generated animations showing the consequences of Special Relativity, to be used as a teaching aid in undergraduate. It has since been expanded to facilitate the production of broadcast quality video at the ANU Visualization Laboratory using the ANU Supercomputing Facility, and possibilities of using the program itself in teaching are being investigated. 
  • Highway scene - no relativistic effects

    PROGRESS 
  • Departmental Seminar executed on 25 September 1997
  • Multiple animations and source code currently available for download
  • This web site is currently under development and subject to change
  • 40 seconds of broadcast quality video has been produced using the Vizlab SGI Onyx
  • Time has been reserved on the Power Challenge for the production of more test video
  • Highway scene - aberration effects only

    HISTORY 
  • The project is being undertaken as part of the Distinguished Scholars in Science Program by physics undergraduate Antony Searle under the supervision of Dr. Craig Savage. A custom-written C++ program was developed on a Pentium-class home computer and currently exists in several versions operating on IBM-compatible and SGI IRIX systems. The program uses ray-tracing techniques similar to those first developed in 1989-90, chiefly by P. K. Hsiung to construct photorealistic images and animations reproducing the view of an observer moving at relativistic speeds through a static scene. 
  • Highway scene - aberration and Doppler shift

    FURTHER RESOURCES 
  • An explanation of the functioning of the raytracer and the effects of special relativity is available on the Seminar page.
  • Code, images, and FLIC format animations are available on the Download Page.

  • Seminar Page
    Download Page
    e-mail Antony Searle