A new PBR Model

Another major update for Aton is about to be deployed. A lot of work has been carried out to provide a modern, efficient and real-time PBR model. A lot of inspiration comes from Unreal Engine 4 (UE4 for short) and its advanced PBR system. WebGL world of course faces several limitations that need to be addressed, sometimes in “smart” ways or using approximation techniques (special PRT and SH solutions and much more) to reduce GPU workload.

A few samples using the new Aton PBR model.

Check out this demo, or this one.
The new, upcoming PBR system combined with RGBE model for Aton, supports now:

  • Base map (diffuse or albedo)
  • Ambient occlusion map
  • Normal map
  • Roughness map
  • Metallic map
  • Emissive map
  • Fresnel map
The new Aton PBR with the new real-time rendering engine. Textures modified from http://hrp.duke4.net/
Close-up on variable roughness, reflections and indirect light contribution (bottom cube faces)

The new PBR maps workflow also has the objective to be as close as possibile to a workflow involving UE4 (or other modern real-time PBR engines), to fully reuse such maps (e.g. “Roughness“, “Metallic” pins in material blueprint in UE4). Nevertheless, the new model is also compatible with “basic” workflow, such as the classic diffuse-only 3D modeling (or diffuse + separate AO, etc..). Screenshots below show sample workflow in UE4 using same identical PBR maps applied to cube datasets:

Sample workflow in UE4 material BP using same maps.

Of course these improvements will also extend to multi-resolution datasets (e.g. ARIADNE Landscape Services) to produce aestetically pleasing 3D landscapes by providing additional maps in input section, still maintaining efficiency of underneath paged multi-resolution. Furthermore, the Aton PBR system is also VR-ready, providing a realistic and consistent rendering of layered materials also on HMDs, on WebVR enabled browsers.


To import and ingest 3D assets generated using common 3D formats (.obj, .3ds, ….and much more) into Aton system and its PBR system, the Atonizer service will be soon available.

Stay tuned!

Useful Links

A new WebGL/HTML5 3D Front-End

A flexible web component has been developed to publish multi-resolution 3D assets online and to explore them interactively on modern browsers. The Front-End (PHP + JavaScript) is based on osgjs, jQuery, Gunzip and modern HTML5/CSS capabilities. For those unfamiliar with the osgjs library, it’s the same javascript library used by SketchFab platform. Such component is conceived to interact with complex and multi-resolution 3D scenes, large 3D terrain datasets and items on both desktop and mobile browsers, while maintaining high performance through state-of-the-art organization (scene-graphs), resource management and paging techniques.

A quick glance at current main features:

  • SceneGraph based: hierarchical culling, instancing for efficient streaming, ease of composition and organization for complex scenes, efficient handling of spatial transformations, multiple nodes loading and much more…
  • Multi-texturing, paged multi-resolution, geometry and texture compression
  • Support for several peripherals out-of-the-box: mouse, keyboard, gamepad, LeapMotion and others
  • Multi-Touch enabled on desktop browsers and mobile devices (tablets and smartphones)
  • Easy embed in web pages
  • Support for metadata presentation through server-side or cross-server (external) XML files
  • Support for POV (Point-of-Views): management of camera transitions and navigation states, permalinks for easy sharing (QR-codes, etc.)
  • Support for Spherical Panoramas (equirectangular)
  • VR Support (experimental) for OculusRift 2