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What does being pathological have to do with light here ?


It's the idea that naive pathtracing suffers in what would seem to be a rare, ignorable situation and that we're just being obsessive over what we want to be capable of rendering. Regular pathtracing has a hard time tracing a ray off a perfect mirror and exactly hitting a point light source because the probability of the perfect ray being shot is so low. With the example above, we still want to be able to capture scenes similar to the described pathological situation, so this problem can't be ignored.