We propose a novel simulation method based on rendering to evaluate the modulation transfer function (MTF) of optical imaging systems. The new simulation method corresponds to an experimental measurement of the MTF using imaging resolution test charts, and therefore allows an analysis of the resolving power of shift-variant optical systems that are difficult to evaluate with conventional methods based on the point spread function (PSF). Furthermore, the effects of stray light, such as from reflection or scattering, on the imaging performance can be analyzed. In contrast to methods based on illumination optics using Monte Carlo methods, the proposed method calculates the intensities on an image surface with rendering techniques used in three-dimensional computer graphics (3D CG), which results in calculations that are faster and have a higher precision. The proposed method is highly effective in analyzing the MTF of optical imaging systems through simulations.
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