As far as I know, the only options we have for true 3D rendering are polygonal rendering, ray-marching and raytracing/casting.

Why is that? Surely there must be other ways? Is there some paper somewhere proving that these are the only ways? Is there even anyone working on coming up with a new way?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This isn't really a specific question about rendering. $\endgroup$
    – pmw1234
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ Where would be a better place to ask this then? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 23:05
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    $\begingroup$ There are other ways, e.g. frequency methods, Galerkin methods, neural network rendering, etc. There is no paper claiming that these are the only one since it would be unscientific. $\endgroup$
    – lightxbulb
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 5:17
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    $\begingroup$ Note that we arent actually generally using the best method. But rather we tend to gravitate towards the method that is conceptaually the easiest to model. Ive been doing for a while and the methods we use today arent necceserily most efficient but easiest to manage. As our computational power has gone up we have moved over to just using more elements and more straigthfirward methods. Because we can. Undoubtedly better methods may exist in terms of speed but im not sure people are ready for complexity increase. $\endgroup$
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 11:17
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    $\begingroup$ I believe this has little to do with complexity (e.g. shadow mapping techniques can be much more complex compared to shadows from ray-tracing) and more to do with computational resources and what the hardware is specialized for. For example triangle rasterization instead of point clouds or voxels has been "more efficient" in large parts due to how GPUs evolved. $\endgroup$
    – lightxbulb
    Commented Aug 14, 2021 at 14:42


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