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Graphics Intel Games

Real-Time, Movie-Quality CGI For Games 184

Posted by kdawson
from the we-can-animate-it-for-you-wholesale dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An Intel-owned development team can now render CGI-quality graphics in real time. 'Their video clips show artists pulling together 3D elements like a jigsaw puzzle (see for example this video starting at about 3:38), making movie-level CG look as easy as following a recipe.' They hope that the simplicity of 'Project Offset' could ultimately give them the edge in the race to produce real-time graphics engines for games."
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Real-Time, Movie-Quality CGI For Games

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  • Re:"Movie-Quality" (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:33PM (#31238756)

    Not sure, but I can tell you that we're nowhere near rendering state of the art movie CGI in real time. Vertex and pixel shaders have enabled a class of effects that were previously impossible in real time, but those are all direct lighting effects or crude approximations of indirect lighting. Shadows are not really smooth, they're just blurred. Realistic smooth shadows depend on the size of the light source and are computationally prohibitive on current hardware under real time constraints. Movie-quality CGI includes a class of light interactions which is currently impossible in real time, for example caustics: A caustic is light which is reflected or refracted onto a surface which reflects diffusely. Light being refracted by the surface of a swimming pool is an effect which can be faked but not simulated in real time. Render farms use an algorithm called Photon Mapping to simulate this and other complicated light interactions. This algorithm is conceptually related to Raytracing but even more computationally intensive. It does not map well to the hardware which is currently used in the real time rendering pipeline.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Monday February 22, 2010 @09:03PM (#31239074)

    Obviously he's a member of the Tautology Club that has him as a member.

  • Re:Great... (Score:2, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday February 22, 2010 @09:36PM (#31239410)

    Cool, please tell where I can get one that has GPL drivers.

    I'll wait.

  • Re:"Movie-Quality" (Score:3, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Monday February 22, 2010 @10:09PM (#31239704)
    Just found some numbers, the SPARC CPU in the SS 20's used for Toy Story were capable of 15 MFLOPS peak, an Alpha 21164 433 which came out about 6 months after the movie could do over 500 MFLOPS peak or about 30 times more. Even the PPro 200 could do 150 MFLOPS.
  • by Pseudonym (62607) on Monday February 22, 2010 @11:07PM (#31240156)

    Absolutely true, but there is an apex that both achieve to reach which is photo realistic rendering.

    No, because "photo realism" is not a goal that visual effects aspires to. If you can take a photo of something, then it's almost always cheaper and better to do that, even though it usually requires many thousands of dollars on crew, make up, sets and lighting.

    CGI is used for things that you can't take a photo of, such as a Na'vi or a talking ant. If the space ship can travel faster than light, or the penguin can dance, then "realistic" is not a goal.

    (Disclaimer: I used to work in visual effects.)

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by stephanruby (542433) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:11AM (#31241950)
    This is lame. The guy doesn't even claim the video was made in real-time. He claims that the editing of the game can be done in real-time. That distinction is important, because most of the time I see someone demoing a 3-D editing tool on Youtube, they've accelerated the demo by a huge factor -- just to make the video look cool (and it does look cool that way, but it's also misleading). By the way, here is the same demo "teaser" [projectoffset.com] referenced through youtube, there is actually no need to have to wait for the 3 minutes and 38 seconds on that other video for the boring guy to stop droning on, it's essentially the same teaser (with the same building and the same shading) -- it's just been spliced into the interview in small pieces (as if to imply that the teaser was made at the same speed the interview was videotaped at).
  • Re:"Movie-Quality" (Score:4, Informative)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:44AM (#31242086)

    And just to put this in perspective, current GPUs manage somewhere in the region of 2TFlops, so assuming we can encode Pixar's raytracing/radiocity algorithm into OpenCL that will actually run on one of these cards and not drop to software, then the hard-to-render frames would still take 1.17 seconds to spit out. We need about another 2 orders of magnitude improvement before we're there. That will only take a few years from now though, so we're close, but no cigar.

  • Re:"Movie-Quality" (Score:3, Informative)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @09:50AM (#31243724)

    At 5 TFlops you're still talking 0.5 seconds to render a single frame from toy story, even assuming we can encode their rendering algorithm efficiently onto a graphics card in such a way that it reaches peak performance (unlikely).

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