A survey of procedural noise functions

A. Lagae, S. Lefebvre, R. Cook, T. DeRose, G. Drettakis, D. S. Ebert, J. P. Lewis, K. Perlin, M. Zwicker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Procedural noise functions are widely used in computer graphics, from off-line rendering in movie production to interactive video games. The ability to add complex and intricate details at low memory and authoring cost is one of its main attractions. This survey is motivated by the inherent importance of noise in graphics, the widespread use of noise in industry and the fact that many recent research developments justify the need for an up-to-date survey. Our goal is to provide both a valuable entry point into the field of procedural noise functions, as well as a comprehensive view of the field to the informed reader. In this report, we cover procedural noise functions in all their aspects. We outline recent advances in research on this topic, discussing and comparing recent and well-established methods. We first formally define procedural noise functions based on stochastic processes and then classify and review existing procedural noise functions. We discuss how procedural noise functions are used for modelling and how they are applied to surfaces. We then introduce analysis tools and apply them to evaluate and compare the major approaches to noise generation. We finally identify several directions for future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2579-2600
Number of pages22
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Anisotropic noise
  • Anti-aliasing
  • Filtering
  • Gabor noise
  • Noise
  • Perlin noise
  • Procedural
  • Procedural noise function
  • Procedural texture
  • Solid noise
  • Sparse convolution noise
  • Spot noise
  • Stochastic modeling
  • Stochastic process
  • Surface noise
  • Wavelet noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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