A (New?) Fast Technique for Rendering 3D Laserbolts That Look Good From All Angles


In case anyone is interested, I’ve written a brief tutorial and provided an example implementation/source code for a technique for rendering large groups of laserbolts that look good from all angles in 3D. It is not based on post-processing/blur techniques, nor is it based on approaches involving billboarding end-caps, nor cylindrical billboarding.

While I don’t claim to be fully versed in every single approach out there, I’ve never seen the technique demonstrated or described before. It is based around the idea that a laserbolt can be easily rendered as a plane in orthographic space, covering the end-points of the laser as seen with a perspective projection. A few additional tricks add perspective scaling and proper depth testing.

Tutorial is here.

Example implementation and source code is here.

I hope someone will find this useful!


I made a 2-minute video that describes the effect, complete with a discussion about achieving perspective distortion and depth-testing. It’s available on YouTube. Complete source code and executable for the program demonstrated in my video is available here.