Ray Tracing vs. Path-Tracing: 

Full Comparison


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Ray Tracing

What is it? An advanced and realistic method of creating light and shadows in a scene that creates more realistic scenes Games that Use the Technology: 250 Conceived: 1969 Invented by: Albrecht Dürer

Path Tracing

What is it? A Monte Carlo technique used in computer graphics to produce three-dimensional scenes with accurate global illumination, improving the quality of videos and pictures Games that Use the Technology: N/A Conceived: 1986 Invented by: James Kajiya

Ray Tracing vs. Path Tracing: Must-Know Facts

In ray tracing, each ray is tracked back to one or more light sources by computing its precise path of reflection or refraction.


Path tracing generates several rays for each pixel, but they bounce off in arbitrary directions.


Ray tracing shoots one ray from each pixel. Path tracing doesn’t send one ray but tens, hundreds, or thousands of each pixel rendered.


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