Relativistic Optics


Principal Investigator

Craig Savage

Department of Physics and Theoretical Physics,

Faculty of Science

This project has produced photorealistic animationsof scenes moving with relativistic speeds. We have
incorporated a wide range of real effects, such as shadows and reflections. These have given new insight into relativistic optics.



w17 - PC




What are the results to date and the future of this work?

To date we have produced images and animations that include a variety of realistic objects moving with different speeds. The PC and VIZLAB has enabled us to produce broadcast quality video. Our method is based on a close following of the actual physics of light propagation. This has enabled us to produce the most realistic and versatile animations to date. Examples of our work can be found at:

The figure shows a desert road scene as it would appear to an observer moving at 76% of the speed of light down a road.

The code is being developed by ANU Distinguished Scholar Antony Searle.

Appendix A -


The animations have already been used to teach relativistic optics at ANU. There are many exciting possibilities for future work. We are currently developing 3D images for use in the "Wedge" walk in virtual environment.

What computational techniques are used?

The rendering code has been custom written from scratch. It is an extension to relativistic situations of standard ray tracing techniques.

- Appendix A