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 http://www.bunkspeed.com/hypermove

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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RIP: Andrea Pininfarina

Published 07 August 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: pininfarina, design legend

Andrea Pininfarina with the Ferrari P4/5

Word is just hitting the wires that Andrea Pininfarina, CEO of legendary (if that word does them justice) Italian car styling and design house, Pininfarina, was killed instantly this morning following a collision whilst he was riding his Vespa to the company HQ just outside of Turin.

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Spangly new SpaceClaim website - sloppy marketing 101

Published 01 August 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: solidworks, pininfarina, spaceclaim, ideo, sloppy marketing, trademarks

Motorola RAZR - probably not designed in SpaceClaim

Looks like SpaceClaim has been spending some more of that VC cash with the web-designers again and there’s a brand new SpaceClaim web-site on the block. I like it, its shiny and has lots of nice things in there.

There are a couple of bits and bobs that aren’t quite right. I love it when people tag that annoying little TM trademark thing after something that really doesn’t need it. Particularly when the company in question, according to a USPTO search, doesn’t even own the trademark (I’d love to stand corrected) or its been owned and abandoned by someone else.

I’m specifically thinking about “Natural 3D design” which was previously owned by Metatools and “Design the way you think” which was owned and abandoned by Ceira Technologies in 2005.

What’s also often interesting is the models that CAD vendors choose to illustrate their web-site, brouchures and such. Perfect example of this are two of the images featured there.

A Motorola RAZR and an Aston Martin. The RAZR is pretty fair game, model something up and use it as a demo. What’s really… Ummm.. what’s the word? Irritating, is the Aston Martin image.

Aston Martin: Not designed by Pininfarina and not designed with SpaceClaim - allegedly

It reads Credit: Bunkspeed/Pininfarina. Unless I’m very much mistaken, Pininfarina had nothing to do with the design of any Aston Martin and certainly not the model shown - and I’d bet the house on the fact that SpaceClaim wasn’t involved. Could it be that this the 3D model that appears in this Youtube video?

A model that was created in SolidWorks, at the turn of the century. And modelling by the talented Mark Biasotti, who was working at IDEO at the time I seem to recall. Guess where he works now? Yes, he works for a company based on Baker Avenue, Concorde, Mass - but it ain’t SpaceClaim.

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Movie on ID - now I’m excited

Published 31 July 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: industrial design, naoto fukasawa, objectified, dieter rams, ideo

Dieter Rams - if you don’t know who he is, you should be ashamed of yourself wink

When someone (ralph G) points you at a movie on industrial design, I tend to get excited. When you look at the web-page and there is a movie coming with production stills featuring Dieter Rams, Jonathan Ive and a Marc Newson, I have to sit down and have a very hasty cup of tea.

According to the web-site, Objectified is a feature-length independent documentary about industrial design. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the people who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability. It’s about our relationship to mass-produced objects and, by extension, the people who design them.

Through verite footage and in-depth conversations, the film documents the creative processes of some of the world’s most influential designers, and looks at how the things they make impact our lives. What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?

A quick look at the participants and its a good roll call of who’s who - Rams, Ive and Newson as we’ve mentioned, but also the teams at IDEO, Karim Rashid, Naoto Fukasawa - I just hope someone like Kenya Hara makes it through to the final cut too.

Unlike Ralph I couldn’t give two shits whether or not there’s any software featured. It’s a MOVIE about INDUSTRIAL DESIGN - it doesn’t get better than that. Now how do I convince Greg and Martyn to sponsor the movie so I can go to the London screenings? Any ideas peeps?

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