GPU rendering is changing the game

Creating 3D virtual environments for animation or games is an amazing process that has been developed in the last decades. It involves building a 3D environment within dedicated software for the task. The results can be spectacular, and these techniques have brought us masterpieces of cinema and animation such as Toy Story or Frozen. Pixar pioneered this method with the creation of the first Toy Story, and it has since become more accessible in television, games, and online video animation. Until recently, there was a high barrier to entry for a small studio or a single person to create this type of video work.

It can take a long time to create these amazing digital images – companies like Pixar will have dedicated teams assigned just to lighting the scene, or just creating the footage, for example. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is the computer processing time it takes to render each image in the production. For example, in a typical Pixar production with a single high-end PC, it would take an average of 24 hours to render 1 frame of video. It typically requires 24 frames in a single second of video, which means it would take 400 years to produce a 100-minute movie on a single computer.

Luckily for Pixar, they use what’s called a render farm, or a network of computers connected together for the purpose of rendering. They use 2000 machines connected to each other to generate their images, which helps significantly with render times. Even with that kind of power, rendering can be unwieldy.

In recent years, specialized companies have developed software that is compatible with high-end graphics cards that ship with common PC builds to help with the rendering process. The market for graphics cards, or GPUs, has exploded with the growth of PC gaming among teens and young adults, which means their power is rising and their cost falling. Otoy is one such company that has developed a new engine for rendering 3D images that uses the GPU in addition to traditional CPU rendering.

Otoy writes: “OctaneRender® is the world’s first and fastest physically correct, unbiased, GPU-accelerated renderer.”

There are a few different products leading the charge in GPU-based rendering engines; others include Redshift, Arnold, and V-Ray. They all have their pros and cons, but the main benefit is increased rendering speeds for both the preview as you work and the final output.

Another benefit of using a GPU-based rendering engine is that a GPU is much more easily upgraded on a system. Instead of having to update many different components, a new graphics card can be inserted directly into the old version. Plus, you can link multiple graphics cards together and continue to boost processing speeds even on a home system.

This is exciting technology for freelancers and smaller studios, and will open the door to creating amazing 3D images in a reasonable amount of time, with reasonably priced hardware.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *