The synthesis of actual and computer generated photo-realistic images has been the aim of artists and graphic designers for many decades. Some of the most realistic images (see Graphics Gallery - simulated steel mill) were generated using radiosity techniques. Unlike ray tracing, radiosity models the actual interaction between the lights and the environment. In photo realistic Virtual Reality (VR) environments, the need for quick feedback based on user actions is crucial. It is generally recognised that traditional implementation of radiosity is computationally very expensive and therefore not feasible for use in VR systems where practical data sets are of huge complexity.

To achieve photo-realism in images, we look into what radiosity can offer and the current state of art by doing a radiosity trend analysis. In addition, we also review several acceleration techniques which are suitable for applying radiosity in the synthesis of VR environments.

Finally, we introduce two new methods and several hybrid techniques to the radiosity research community on using radiosity in VR applications.

Keywords: photo-realism; global illumination; real-time radiosity; VR radiosity; walk-throughs; flybys; simulation.