SIGGRAPH 2010, the annual computer graphics trade show of the ACM, started is exhibition Tuesday and Nvidia demonstrated at its booth the latest Quadro Fermi graphics cards.
Nvidia demonstrated the new release of the Application Acceleration Engine, AXE 2.0. The new version is optimized to run on the new Quadro Fermi cards, but will run on any G92 or later generation cards. These engines allow for interactive ray-tracing where the user can interact with the ray-traced scene quickly without an extensive wait for re-rendering.
Nvidia’s 'mental images' division also demonstrated its iRay application, which takes the above capabilities and adds physically correct global illumination to the features. Global illumination is critical for correct lighting in most 3D digital content creation and the ability to view and interact with a globally illuminated scene will greatly accelerate the ability of artists to work quickly. In addition iRay supports network distributed rendering across GPUs.
Nvidia partners like The Foundry, RTT, and Bunkspeed also demonstrated their applications making use of CUDA-accelerated interactive ray-tracing. RTT’s application actually calculated airflow over the model and rendered the model, interactively, both using CUDA, while Bunkspeed’s SHOT uses mental images' iRay to provide interative ray tracing and global illumination.
In a few GPU generations, these can be expected to proceed from ‘interactive’ to ‘real-time’ and we should start seeing the use of real-time ray-tracing and global illumination in games.