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Interactive Ray Tracing: A Better Way to Program 3D

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Uploaded on Jul 30, 2009

Google Tech Talk
June 30, 2009

ABSTRACT

Please view slides at http://caustic.com/docs_presentations...

Presented by James A. McCombe - Chief Technical Officer, Founder.

3D graphics today is dominated by two distinct rendering algorithms. Rasterization paints objects on the screen one at a time while ray tracing models the physics of light to determine the color of a pixel. Rasterization is fast, enabling games at 30 fps, but creating content is a labor intensive process that still delivers images falling short of photorealism. Ray tracing offers a more intuitive artistic model where accurate visual effects fall out of the interactions between objects producing great looking images with much less effort. Unfortunately, today, ray tracing is limited to a small set of applications where rendering speed is not critical and interactivity is not required.

Caustic Graphics has created CausticRT, a ray tracing platform with the promise of delivering ray tracing capabilities at a speed comparable to rasterization. This speed will deliver an immense productivity gain to professionals dependent on render farms for ray tracing today, and will open up new applications for interactive ray tracing, ultimately allowing ray tracing to replace rasterization as the dominant algorithm for interactive 3D.

James McCombe, Caustic Graphics CTO and Founder, will discuss how to program on top of the CausticRT platform, and demonstrate the ease with which stunning visual effects can be created and the speed at which they render. He will also touch on additional applications for Caustic technology.

CausticRT is available today to qualified developers, and includes the CausticOne accelerator card, and the CausticGL API. CausticOne achieves a 10-20 times performance gain over current software renderers on a modern 8-core CPU. While CausticTwo, due in early 2010, will be 200 times faster than current software. At that time Caustic Graphics expects several commercial rendering packages to be available that support their technology. Moreover artist and designers for the first time will be able to leverage these phenomenal raytracing performance gains in their production pipeline.

Caustic Graphics website: www.caustic.com

James A. McCombe, a native of Belfast, is the technical visionary behind Caustic and one of the company's three founders. Most recently he was the chief architect of Apple's next-generation embedded rasterization algorithms, the basis of the rendering and compositing technology used in the iPhone and iPod. He was also a lead architect for Apple's OpenGL graphics system, and worked with the OpenGL standards committee to create early specifications for programmable shading languages.

Before Apple, James wrote the world's first fully interactive 3D rendering engine and first-person shooter game for the Palm mobile platform. Upon moving to the U.S. in 2000, James worked at Firepad where he continued to develop the mobile rendering technologies that formed the foundation of street mapping solutions available on today's most innovative mobile phones.

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