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NVIDIA launches GPU based ray tracing at Siggraph

Published 14 August 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: visualisation, nvidia, gpu, showcase, ray tracing.

NVIDIA has announced that it can calculate ray traced imagery on the fly using its GPUs, claiming an industry first. Based purely on NVIDIA GPU technology, the ray tracer shows “linear scaling rendering of a highly complex, two-million polygon, anti-aliased automotive styling application.” if you want to get down and dirty, then the image shown here was displayed at three bounces, performance was demonstrated at up to 30 frames per second (fps) at HD resolutions of 1920x1080 for an image-based lighting paint shader, ray traced shadows, and reflections and refractions running on four next-generation Quadro GPUs in an NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2100 D4 Visual Computing System (VCS).

Now, I know ray tracing is incredibly complex and calc heavy, but, really, if this is an industry first, shouldn’t these images look better? I guess my point is that whether its full ray tracing, or fudged (some systems, like Autodesk Showcase, have some tricks to get over the calc hurdle), I think today’s users expect more in terms of depth of realism.

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AMD rebrands while Nvidia gears up for extravaganza

Published 14 August 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: amd, nvidia, ati fire, nvision

AMD’s legendary ATI Fire GL brand, which was made famous by Diamond Multimedia ten years ago, is no more. AMD has rebranded its professionalgraphics card family to ATI FirePro and at the same time launched two newcards, the FirePro V3700 and FirePro V5700.

The dropping of the ‘GL’ from the ‘ATI Fire’ brand is significant as itsname was originally inspired by OpenGL, which has been the standard for 3D graphics in CAD applications since the early nineties. However, in recentyears OpenGL has been losing ground to Microsoft’s Direct3D technology with a number of software vendors, notably Autodesk, going down this route.

It would appear the rebranding is a direct result of this trend.In terms of the new cards, the ATI Fire Pro V5700 features 512MB of memory, dual link DVI and DisplayPort connections, and its true 30-bit display engine produces more than one billion colours at any given time.

This will be of particular interest to product designers for the most accurate colour reproduction, as long as they are using a compatible 30-bit monitor. For the Fire Pro V3700 ATI has followed the lead of Nvidia by introducing a professional card with an aggressive price point of below $99. The cardfeatures 256 MB of frame buffer memory, two dual-link DVI connectors.

Meanwhile, Nvidia is gearing up for its inaugural NVISION event in August,which will offer nearly 80 hours of technical and industry sessions forprofessionals in areas including automotive, high performance computing, andprofessional visualisation.

Among the bizarre array of celebrities atending the event (including Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Battlestar Galactica actress Tricia Helfer) Bernard Charles, president and CEO of DassaultSystemes, will give a presentation, offering insights into ‘what’s next’ for creative professionals.

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Rendering tech fires up - big style

Published 12 August 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: solidworks, rendering, visualisation, bunkspeed, hypershot, hypermove

It seem that it isn’t enough and once again, things are hotting up in the rendering world. Last year Bunkspeed’s HyperShot rewrote the book on rendering for product design. HyperShot is quick, easy and dirty. Load model, add materials, choose lighting and background and you’re pretty much ready to rock and roll. If only all renders were like that. If you look at what most users face in terms of pain points, it gets a long way to solving many of them.

But it seems things are moving on.

Siggraph is the place to be it seems. Yesterday, Bunkspeed and SpaceClaim announced a partnership that sees HyperShot integrated with SpaceClaim (similar to the work they’ve already done with SolidWorks and Aesthetica). Today they accounced prerelease details of the next product in their portfolio - HyperMove, an animation tool that looks to do the same as HyperShot for the animation world. it seems that the web-site isn’t up and running yet

Then as if this wasn’t enough, I start to hear about a new Rendering tool from SolidWorks. Rob Rodriguez broke the news of the product name, PhotoView 360, even though I believe an NDA is in place and the product isn’t going to be officially launched until September along with the rest of the 2009 release. Then Luxology (developers of Modo) issue a press release talking about the partnership with SolidWorks and the mysts starts to clear.

SolidWorks has licensed Luxology’s Nexus 4 rendering engine for PhotoView 360, but as a couple of people have pondered, Nexus 4 includes a variety of modeling, sculpting, rendering, painting and animation capabilities. Are we going to see the sub-divisional modelling tools that have seen rapid adoption of Modo in the CGI industry move into SolidWorks? Time will tell.

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What have Bunkspeed got coming up next?

Published 09 August 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: bunkspeed, hypershot, hypermove

First there’s a teasing press release, then there’s hints on the Bunkspeed web-site about its new animation tool, which I believe is called HyperMove.. I’m excited. Really way more excited that I should be. Damn, I wish I was at Siggraph. If anyone’s out there, take a look and see what you can find out, because Teger’s not telling me anything.

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