Tag Archives: Material Definition Language

NVIDIA Brings Near Real-Time Ray Tracing To The Masses

At a regional tech briefing in Singapore on Friday, NVIDIA revealed the power of the NVIDIA ProViz computing platform. Leveraging on the parallel computing capabilities of the NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards to power the NVIDIA Iray technology, they are now able to deliver near real-time ray tracing.

In this video, Bob Pette, VP and General Manager of the NVIDIA Quadro team, explains how NVIDIA Iray and MDL (Material Definition Language) allow for predictive design through near real-time ray tracing. Check out how they help cut down the time to render ray traced images from hours to mere seconds!

More importantly, NVIDIA is finally making this available to the end-users via NVIDIA Iray plugins. Starting now, NVIDIA is offering Iray plugins for both 3ds Max 2016 and Maya 2016. The plugins for 3ds Max 2015 and 3ds Max 2014, as well as the plugin for Maya 2016 for Linux will be available in January 2016. There will also be NVIDIA Iray plugins for Autodesk Revit, Maxon Cinema 4D and Rhino in the spring or summer of 2016.

All these plugins will be sold directly by NVIDIA to end-users for $295 per year, with a 90-day free trial. According to Bob Pette, this price will be the upper limit, with these NVIDIA Iray plugins offered by their partners at lower price points in their own bundles.


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.

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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.

Don’t believe us? Well, take a look at the NVIDIA Iray “Predictive Design” Demo On The NVIDIA Shield Tablet!


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.

[adrotate banner=”4″]What NVIDIA Iray offers now is a much faster and better workflow for designers, whether they are in the engineering or architectural industry. They can now design better products and even buildings faster, because they can see the effects almost immediately.

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 in this amazing video 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?