Posted Jan. 7, 2011: Morgan McGuire‘s paper on Ambient Occlusion Volumes wins best research paper award at ACM/EuroGraphics High Performance Graphics. Artists have long recognized the importance of soft shadowing effects for the perception of proximity and shape in 3D scenes. Ambient Occlusion is the technical term for this effect, which is used extensively for medical and engineering visualization, film and video game special effects, and architectural rendering. A new algorithm published by Prof. McGuire speeds this computation thousands of times, making it possible to calculate accurate ambient occlusion in real-time. This improves the visual quality of 3D for game players, architects, doctors, and engineers.