NVIDIA today revealed the power of the new NVIDIA Iray “Predictive Design” capability in a regional tech briefing in sunny Singapore. Bob Pette, VP and General Manager of the NVIDIA Quadro team flew in to give us a live demonstration of almost-live ray tracing on an NVIDIA Shield tablet.
Ray Tracing & Predictive Design
Ray tracing has been around for decades, and offers the most photorealistic rendering of any 3D image. However, it is computationally intensive which means real-time rendering is not remotely possible. In fact, the workflow is arduously long and more importantly disconnected.
The disconnect is a big problem, because it means the designer cannot immediately see the results of his/her work. Instead, he/she will have to wait for the final render to be delivered before making changes, and the process repeats until the design is accepted.
Thanks to the highly-parallelised nature of ray tracing, NVIDIA Quadro family of professional graphics cards can deliver almost real-time ray tracing capability via their NVIDIA Iray technology.
This capability allows a much quicker “Predictive Design” process, because the designer can now predict what the final output would be. Instead of waiting for a render to be finalised at some off-site location, the designer can almost instantly produce a ray-traced view of the design.
Best of all, this capability does not require the designer to physically have access to a powerful render farm, or even high-powered workstations with multiple NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards. In fact, less capable devices, like the NVIDIA Shield tablet, can remotely access those capabilities.
NVIDIA Iray Predictive Design Live Demo
In this video, NVIDIA Quadro VP and General Manager, Bob Pette, demonstrates the NVIDIA Iray “Predictive Design” capability on an NVIDIA Shield tablet. The tablet does not actually render the image, but merely acts as a display and interface. The actual rendering work is performed on the workstation you see behind, powered by two NVIDIA Quadro M6000 graphics cards.
When even more powerful graphics cards on the horizon arrive (courtesy of the forthcoming NVIDIA Pascal microarchitecture), he says it’s not inconceivable for a single workstation to support 10 tablets or laptops at the same time.
How Is This Important?
As far as gaming is concerned, the photorealism derived from ray tracing is not worth the effort and cost. The current “Predictive Design” capability offered by NVIDIA Iray offers a glimpse of what might be possible for PC gaming maybe a decade or two down the line.
In his presentation (which we will be posting shortly), he demonstrated how the lack of such ray tracing capabilities have resulted in design faux pas like the infamous Walkie Talkie skyscraper (now nicknamed Walkie Scorchie!), which melted cars in London with its “death ray”.
The remote rendering capability that Bob demonstrated above will also be appealing to companies that offer customisation of their products – like cars, apparel and jewellery. Their sales staff can now change colour and material and almost instantly render the final product image for the client to view and approve on-the-spot. Impressive, isn’t it?