This is what you can render in real time now

Written by David Shapton

Grand Theft AutoReal time render

Computer graphics are improving faster than Moore's law

Take a close look at this computer render. It’s a CGI scene of a mercedes SL 65 just after sunset. And it looks very realistic. Maybe nothing that would push the boundaries for Pixar but pretty nice nevertheless.  

But what is remarkable about it is that this was generated in real time. It’s part of a computer game.

Cinema-quality CGI scenes can take humungous quantities of computing power. They need terabytes of ram and extraordinary processing power, and even then it can take minutes or even hours to render a frame. Things are speeding up all the time though.

But the biggest progress of all is in Graphics Processors. It seems that these niche processors are not only becoming less niche, but they’re getting faster at a rate that’s beating Moore’s Law. Just look at our recent story about the Nvidia Tegra X1, a chip that’s as fast as the world’s most powerful supercomputer from the year 2000. And that’s in your mobile phone.

To create a scene like this in real time would have been impossible even only a short time ago. At this rate, it will probably only take a few more years before it’s possible to create the final quality render in real time from a motion capture session, which will completely transform the experience - and the success - of motion capture acting.

At the moment it feels like “don’t blink or you’ll miss the next revolution!”

Tags: Technology

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