Sunday, 19 August 2018 12:48

Nvidia real-time ray tracing Turing architecture demonstrated


Graphics processing hardware vendor Nvidia has announced the world’s first real-time ray tracing GPU. Words don’t do it justice; here you can see it for yourself.

This week Nvidia announced the Quadro RTX video card series, the world’s first video cards capable of real-time ray tracing.

These cards solve what has been described as the “holy grail” of video production, namely representing the effect of light in real-time, allowing photorealistic imagery that models the passage of the sun or the movement of objects and other light sources.

While the ramifications for video games and cinema and also fields like architecture and construction are immense, it’s one thing to simply say it. It’s another altogether to show it.

During his keynote, Nvidia founder and chief executive Jensen Huang showed off the power of the Turing architecture and Quadro RTX cards with real-time rendered demonstrations. You can see excerpts from the keynote here.

Photorealistic, interactive car rendering – this demo of a Porsche prototype is built in Unreal Engine using the Microsoft DXR API, and running on two Quadro RTX GPUs. You can adjust lighting and move the car around.

Real-time ray tracing on a single GPU – this Star Wars-themed demo runs using the Unreal Engine on a single Quadro GPU.

Advanced rendering for games & film (dancing robots) – this demonstration is built on Unreal and uses a single Quadro RTX 6000. It shows effects such as global illumination, shadows, ambient occlusion and reflections.

Advanced rendering for games and film (Project Sol) – this demonstration uses a QUadro RTX 6000 and shows production-quality rendering and cinematic frame rates, allowing users to interact with scene elements in real-time.

Cornell Box – this time-tested graphics teaching tool demonstrates how Turing uses ray tracing to deliver complex effects such as diffused reflection, refractions, caustics and global illumination with photorealism.

Ray traced global illumination – this live, photorealistic demo is set in the lobby of the Rosewood Bangkok Hotel and visualises the effects of light switching between raster and ray traced materials. You can change the scene by adding objects and opening skylights and seeing the effects in real-time. The demo is powered by a pair of Quadro RTX 6000 GPUs, largely because of the memory needed to hold the assets used.

New Autodesk Arnold with GPU acceleration – featuring a shot from Avengers: Infinity War courtesy of Cinesite, Autodesk and Marvel Studios, this demo lets you see the benefits of Quadro RTX GPUs for both content creation and final frame rendering for feature films.

The Quadro RTX will be released in three models:

  1. The Quadro RTX 5000 with 16Gb RAM (supporting 32Gb using NVLink), 6 Giga Rays per second, for US$2300
  2. The Quadro RTX 6000 with 24Gb RAM (supporting 48Gb), 10 Giga Rays per second, for US$6300
  3. The Quadro RTX 8000 with 48Gb RAM (supporting 96Gb), 10 Giga Rays per second, for $USD 10,000

 The writer attended SIGGRAPH2018 as a guest of Nvidia.


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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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