Real-Time Texture Space Lighting

One of the more obvious effects of subsurface scattering is a general blurring of the diffuse lighting. Rather than arbitrarily modifying the diffuse function, diffusion can be more accurately modeled by simulating it in texture space. This technique was pioneered in rendering faces in The Matrix Reloaded, but has recently fallen into the realm of real-time techniques.

The method unwraps the mesh of an object using a vertex shader, first calculating the lighting based on the original vertex coordinates. The vertices are then remapped using the UV texture coordinates as the screen position of the vertex, suitable transformed from the [0, 1] range of texture coordinates to the [-1, 1] range of normalized device coordinates. By lighting the unwrapped mesh in this manner, we obtain a 2D image representing the lighting on the object, which can then be processed and reapplied to the model as a light map. To simulate diffusion, the light map texture can simply be blurred. Rendering the lighting to a lower-resolution texture in itself provides a certain amount of blurring. The amount of blurring required to accurately model subsurface scattering in skin is still under active research, but performing only a single blur poorly models the true effects. To emulate the wavelength dependent nature of diffusion, the samples used during the (Gaussian) blur can be weighted by channel. This is somewhat of an artistic process. For human skin, the broadest scattering is in red, then green, and blue has very little scattering.

Source :GPU Gems Chapter 16

I want to understand some implementation perspective of texture space diffusion in the context of opengl and glsl shaders. Moreover I want to know how unwrapping of the mesh is achived to 2D image.

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