Unity pushes realtime rendering to the jaw-dropping limit

Written by Andy Stout

UnityAdam: rendered in realtime

The Unity game engine has proved capable of some amazing visuals in the past, but nothing has quite prepared us for the realtime rendering it’s pulled off in the short film Adam, powered by nothing more than a GeForce GTX980 graphics card.

Admittedly, that is quite a lot of graphics card and probably the rest of the kit involved was fairly top-end too, but the point is that it’s consumer level: the resulting video has not been produced by serried ranks of servers all working in parallel in some enormous vfx facility somewhere. This has been created with the game engine (albeit with some custom tools for volumetric fog, transparency shading, and motion blur) and rendered in realtime and the results are astonishing.

Plot-wise it’s fairly standard, but in terms of lighting, particle effects, animation and camera work it doesn’t just push the envelope, it shreds it. Admittedly you sometimes wonder whether all the focus trickery is artistically necessary or simply a way of balancing the load on the GPUs, but as a proof of concept for the potential of the Unity engine in filmmaking, it’s making its case rather loudly. In capitals.

It’s not 4K, that would be a bit too much to ask, running instead at 2560x1440 at 1440p.

“The Unity Demo Team built Adam with beta versions of Unity 5.4 and our upcoming cinematic sequencer tool,” Unity says. “Adam also utilizes an experimental implementation of real-time area lights and makes extensive use of high fidelity physics simulation tool CaronteFX, which you can get from the Unity Asset Store right now.”

The additional custom tools created for the Adam project are also going to be made “freely available” soon too. Which is rather good news for anyone that fancies taking on Hollywood from their own PC.

H/T to The Creators Project.

Tags: Post & VFX


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