Caustic maps provide an interactive image-space method to render caustics, the focusing of light via reflection and refraction. Unfortunately, caustic mapping suffers problems similar to shadow mapping: aliasing from poor sampling and map projection as well as temporal incoherency from frame-to-frame sampling variations. To reduce these problems, researchers have suggested methods ranging from caustic blurring to building a multiresolution caustic map. Yet these all require a fixed photon sampling, precluding the use of importance-based photon densities. This paper introduces adaptive caustic maps. Instead of densely sampling photons via a rasterization pass, we adaptively emit photons using a deferred shading pass. We describe deferred rendering for refractive surfaces, which speeds rendering of refractive geometry up to 25 % and with adaptive sampling speeds caustic rendering up to 200%. These benefits are particularly noticable for complex geometry or using millions of photons. While developed for a GPU rasterizer, adaptive caustic map creation can be performed by any renderer that individually traces photons, e.g., a GPU ray tracer
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