SIGGRAPH 2018 — RNDR Highlights

A recap of OTOY and RNDR roadmap updates at this years edition of SIGGRAPH, along with highlights of the most exciting announcements in the graphics industry.

Sep 27, 2018 · 11 min read

At the 2018 edition of SIGGRAPH, the most important computer graphics event in the world, OTOY released previews of its 2018 and 2019 roadmap — highlighted by an announced integration into Unreal Engine and initial results of a new RNDR SDK supporting NVIDIA RTX Raytracing, Vulkan, and Apple Metal with iOS and MacOS now available to the OctaneRender ecosystem for the first time.

During the five day festival immersing over 16,500 attendees in Vancouver into of the latest CG, Animation, VR, Games, Digital Art, Mixed Reality, and emerging technologies, OTOY and RNDR set a vision for the future of GPU graphics and rendering on the blockchain — in which real-time and cinematic pipelines converge and cross-platform hardware support creates key infrastructure for an open distributed Metaverse of holographic media.

This year, the news was highlighted by the release of the first commercially available hardware-accelerated, real-time ray tracing GPUs that OTOY demonstrated have the power to transform the computer graphics field in conjunction with its 2018 and 2019 roadmap. Highlights include:

  • The launch of OctaneRender 4 RC1 with AI Acceleration and integration of OTOY’s Brigade real-time engine into OctaneRender.
  • OctaneRender 2018.1 preview with new procedural volumetric lighting and geometry, providing near infinite levels of detail in near real time.
  • OctaneRender 2019.1 which features OTOY and Epic Games’ collaboration to integrate OctaneRender with Unreal Engine 4, the industry’s leading AAA game engine.
  • RNDR SDK Featured in OctaneRender 2019.1 with NVIDIA RTX ray tracing, Vulkan, x86, Cuda, D3D, and Metal cross-platform support, bringing OctaneRender GPU rendering to the Apple ecosystem (iOS and MacOS) for first time.
  • NVIDIA’s jaw-dropping new Turing GPU architecture and RTX ray tracing technology that will revolutionize the work of ~50 million designers and artists. OTOY demoed 5–8x speed increases with Octane 2019’s path-tracing kernel — running at 3.2 billion rays/second on NVIDIA new Quadro RTX 6000 — compared to 400 millions rays/second on P6000.

OctaneRender™ 4.0 Release Candidate 1 (RC1)

During his talk at the NVIDIA booth, Jules Urbach, founder and CEO at both OTOY and RNDR, announced the first candidate build of OctaneRender 4.0. OctaneRender 4.0 integrates Brigade, OTOY’s real-time path tracing engine that speeds up scene updates by up to 100x, and it introduces intriguing new AI-based lighting and denoising systems.

What’s new? This version incorporates a second AI denoiser system trained to denoise volumes (and volume passes) that previously required thousands of samples to become completely or nearly noise free, as well as adding the option to import individual layers from multi-layer EXR files. Users will also find advances for texture compression: now compressed files use just 1/3 to 1/8 of the VRAM of normal RGBA textures while rendering, and are often visually identical to their uncompressed counterparts. Another gem is the new scene exporter. Users are now able to use Octane’s internal ORBX scene translation system to flatten and export scene geometry. Finally, light linking, a new Universal Material, Global light exclusion, and UDIM Support make the engine more user friendly for a wider variety of production workflows.

To read more about this version, check out this post on OTOY’s forum.

OctaneRender 2018.1 Preview

After OctaneRender 4, OTOY will move away from numbered version releases to higher frequency releases, starting with OctaneRender 2018.1. Octane will contain new technologies inside: Vectron and Spectron.

Vectron powers procedural geometry. With this technology, users work with infinite procedural scenes, volumes, and geometry without using meshes or volumes. The procedural scene generation is live and real-time, 100% on the GPU, without any GPU VRAM used.

The second gem of this duo is Spectron, a new procedural lightning system that boosts artistic freedom and takes photorealism to the next level. Artists can create procedural volumetric lightning (e.g. spotlight) that is ultra-fast, noise-free, and uses near real-time and new granular controls simulating all electromagnetic spectral phenomenon in OctaneRender to reach ultra-realistic imagery.

OctaneRender 2018.1 preview with new procedural volumetric lighting and geometry.

OctaneRender 2018 feature set was so extensive it actually was able to ‘finish’ previously unsolved parts of the rendering equation, including:

  • Polarization
  • Fluorescence and Phosphorescence
  • Complex Layered Substrates and Porosity
  • Diffractive Optics
  • Relative Doppler Effects
Additions to the Rendering Equation in OctaneRender 2018 —

OctaneRender 2019.1 + Unreal Engine

SIGGRAPH 18’ attendees enjoyed a preview of the OctaneRender integration with Unreal Engine 4, planned for release in the first half of 2019. Designed to bring AI-accelerated GPU path-tracing and light field baking to Unreal Engine-powered games, film, VFX, architectural visualization and mixed reality applications, the integration will be included as part of OctaneRender’s baseline subscription. This will include access to 20 GPUs, network rendering and over 20 DCC integrations. OTOY will soon be announcing a public beta after the initial private beta testing occurs, sometime during Q4 2018.

Previews of the OctaneRender for Unreal Engine integration

Through the integration of OctaneRender 2019 into Unreal Engine, developers will gain access to the RNDR SDK, which will serve as the portal for OTOY’s end-to-end holographic mixed reality pipeline built on the RNDR Blockchain Distributed GPU Ecosystem. In 2017, OTOY announced the integration with Unity. With this new expansion in the gaming industry, Octane is now available for the two major game engines, Unreal Engine and Unity, which means millions of users will be benefiting from this technology worldwide.

OctaneRender 2019.1 Feature Set Announced with New RNDR SDK

OTOY also announced OctaneRender 2019.1, the first end-to-end XR holographic pipeline. Built on the RNDR SDK multi-backend framework and supporting NVIDIA RTX ray tracing, Vulkan, D3D, CUDA, and, for the first time, Apple Metal (iOS/Mac OS), bringing cinematic path tracing to the Apple ecosystem.

This version will set the standards for holographic creation and distribution on next-generation volumetric displays and HMDs by incorporating a new RNDR AI Viewport and Light Field Viewer. OTOY demoed a new holographic light-field viewer as well as OctaneRender running path tracing functions on the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

These previews paint an initial picture of what an end-to-end cross-platform holographic creation and distribution pipeline will look like. Beginning with OctaneRender 2019.1, OTOY will begin migrating its stack of software and services — including OctaneRender — to the RNDR SDK, which will be built on the RNDR Blockchain GPU Network.

Having completed the second phase of its roadmap, the RNDR Network already reached the point where users of the private Test Net can process OctaneRender Cloud (ORC) jobs on the Ethereum blockchain. We created a System Tray Application on Windows that can process rendering jobs through the Ethereum blockchain, and assign RNDR tokens directly to GPU contributor crypto-wallets in return for the GPU processing power contributed to the platform.

“Having this hub is the future,” Jules said about the release. “It’s not going to be one monolithic ecosystem, it will be all of us bridging and connecting our pieces together until the artists are happy and they have what they need , end-to-end, to create the next generation of media. The cross-platform RNDR SDK accelerates this transition and enables production-ready, mixed reality creation ecosystems to develop.”

Discussing how the RNDR SDK will accelerate the growth of holographic media, Jules added:

“In mixed reality, real-time photorealism is so much more important because you need to blend digital objects with the physical world naturally. People’s appreciation for GPU rendering and physically-correct lighting will grow in this new medium, where the problems for rendering, lighting, and publishing are all much harder. That is where we can make a big difference.”

RNDR now faces Phase III, where we aim at developing a watermark and escrow system for proof-of-render, and public beta testing of a peer-to-peer testnet.

For more about these releases, take a look at OTOY and RNDR press highlights from SIGGRAPH where Jules Urbach discusses the 2018 and 2019 roadmap and how it helps advance the vision for the RNDR network.

Exciting News from Around the Graphics Industry

Much of OTOY and RNDR’s 2018 and 2019 roadmap releases position us to stay on the cutting edge of GPU based graphics. With that goal in mind, here are some of the exciting announcements across the industry at SIGGRAPH that fit with our vision of where fully holographic media is heading.

NVIDIA’s Revolutionary Hardware: A Huge Step for Computer Graphics

NVIDIA’s Jensen Huang took the main stage to kick-off this year’s SIGGRAPH to unveil the company’s newest hardware novelty: the NVIDIA Turing™ GPU architecture. The company has announced the launch of its initial lineup of professional Turing-based GPUs for Q4: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000, Quadro RTX 6000, and Quadro RTX 5000. Jensen made the bold claim that their new Turing GPU architecture is the biggest leap in computer graphics in the last decade, since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006. But why?

Greg Estes, NVIDIA´s marketing VP, argued that the reason why Turing is so special is because it combines four processing types in just one GPU.

The first type is RT Cores, a new real-time ray tracing capability that accelerate computing how light and sound travel in 3D environments at up to 10 GigaRays a second.

The second type is Tensor Cores, which processes AI routines and deep learning. The Tensor Cores are processors that make training and inferencing for deep learning much faster, providing up to 500 trillion tensor operations a second. This enables applications with new capabilities, such as DLAA (deep learning anti-aliasing), denoising, resolution scaling, and video re-timing.

The third processing type in Greg Estes’ list is a new streaming multiprocessor (SM) architecture that improves raster performance with an enhanced graphics pipeline and new programmable shading technologies.

The fourth processing type involves simulation. Computer graphics expert and enthusiast Sweeney stated:

“The combination of RTX and NVIDIA new Turing architecture is really game changing for all developers. I have been a graphic programmer for 20 years and in those early days we never dreamed that real time ray tracing would be possible. (…) To see this become possible in real time really shows that graphics technology has increased a million fold in performance since those early days in 1998. A million fold in 20 years, imagine that!”

Thanks to this last feature, we’ll be seeing considerable improvements in the interactivity with large models and scenes and virtual reality experiences.

As Huang put it,

“The arrival of real-time ray tracing is the holy grail of our industry.”

For all of us who are working to take computer graphics to the next level, this is very big news. Turing architecture opens the path for hybrid rendering to answer the needs of the growing visual effects industry. These new GPUs enable applications to simulate the physical world at 6x the speed of the previous Pascal™ generation.

Excited about NVIDIA’s Turing architecture and what it will be able to accomplish with Octane, Jules Urbach stated:

“The end result is that we are seeing 5–8x the performance of Pascal. NVIDIA RTX ray tracing hardware is the future , and will define the next decades of GPU rendering. At SIGGRAPH, we’re demonstrating performance improvements of 5–8x with Octane 2019’s path-tracing kernel — running at 3.2 billion rays/second on NVIDIA new Quadro RTX 6000 — compared to 400 millions rays/second on P6000.”

Real-time Ray Tracing and the Future of Filmmaking

Kim Libreri, Unreal Engine CTO; Mohen Leo, director of content and platform strategy at ILMxLAB; and Gavin Moran, creative cinematic director at Epic Games, presented “Reflections” on “Real-Time Live!”, a live showcase of real-time graphics originally presented at GDC 2018. The idea was to show the immense impact of this technology in cinematic pipelines.

In conversation with SIGGRAPH, Kim Liberi stated: “More than just a pure ray tracing demo, this is actually a full virtual production demo. It’s a glimpse into what will be the future of filmmaking, where final pixels can be achieved on set, and that set can be virtual. This means that a team of creatives can work together on all phases of virtual production within the sandbox of the engine. Think about it: with multi-user collaboration and editing, you can have set decorators, greens people, camera operators, actors, DPs, and directors — all working together just like they would on a film set. Whether in VR or on a workstation, everyone is working together in the same environment, all in real-time.

Now collaborative processes will be much easier, and, through real-time ray tracing, artists will be able to achieve photorealistic pixels, effectively removing the “post” from “post-production”.

What does real-time ray tracing mean for game developers?

The Ray + Raster Era Begins — an R&D Roadmap for the Game Industry (Presented by Morgan McGuire from NVIDIA)

With the arrival of special-purpose ray tracing hardware, the gaming industry is finally set to deliver real-time realistic imagery without the usual tricks involved in the process. This technology enables game developers to produce lots of reflections and photorealistic lighting. Real-time ray tracing leads to a better experience in terms of productivity, innovation, and experimentation. To read more about this technology in the gaming industry, you can always read this post written by our Reddit community.

Democratizing stunning photorealistic immersive storytelling

During SIGGRAPH, outside of the conference, a great example of how real-time cinematic path tracing can transform the game industry was making waves on Twitter. Taken from Unity’s Adam Demo rendered in OctaneRender, Maxim Sullivan captivated audiences on social media with rendering so photoreal, audiences were left wondering if there was a robot invasion underway. The post went viral with almost 10M views. Thankfully, it was just an example of OTOY’s cinematic path tracing technology to transform and democratize immersive photoreal storytelling.

You can read more about how the tweet went viral and how the video was produced in C4D, Unity, and Octane in this Snopes article. Surely this is just a test of what the future of storytelling might look like, as well as a sign of what is to come when the RNDR blockchain network makes the next generation of media evenly distributed in an open holographic metaverse.

Finally, to conclude SIGGRAPH, OTOY was thrilled to showcase its engine being used in Ant-Man and The Wasp by Marvel Studios.

Ant-Man and the Wasp meets OctaneRender

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