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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2010 @06:59PM (#31238422)

    How can there be any doubt that realtime rendering will approach the quality of today's offline rendering when computing power grows exponentially?

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

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:14PM (#31238580) Homepage

    Can anyone tell me how close we are to being able to render Toy Story in real time? Say 1080p?

    I know the state of the art keeps moving, Avatar is far better looking than the original Toy Story, but with the limited visual "feature set" used in Toy Story, are we very far from being able to do something close looking in real time?

    Can we do it raster, now that we have so many GPU based effects?

  • by whiplashx (837931) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:26PM (#31238686)

    4 or 5 years ago, it was basically comparable to Unreal 3. The motion blur was probably the best feature I saw. Fine graphics, but nothing really mind blowing. Having said that, I have not seen what they've done since Intel bought them, but I'm guessing its basically support for Intel's research projects.

    As a developer of modern console and PC games, My Professional Opinion is that there's nothing new to see here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:40PM (#31238820)

    Hating on the current quality of movies/games/music automatically gets you karma points even if you haven't the least bit of idea of what you're talking about....

  • Re:"Movie-Quality" (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:41PM (#31238828)

    I imagine you could do it on any decent powered computer nowdays. The only thing is you couldn't. Realtime rendering and the sort of movie rendering use wildly different techniques, you would have to remake a lot of the film. Seconly you probably couldn't pan the camera much or anything; as back then it was so stressful on their computers they probably removed most of the unseen faces.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:42PM (#31238836)

    I think it will make the CGI worse.

    When someone has to spend time creating the graphics, a little bit of human soul leaks over even if their ideas are uninspired.

    Some of the 80's CGI (Tron etc) looks dated, but has a vivacity that is lost when everything is too perfect.

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

    by afidel (530433) on Monday February 22, 2010 @07:49PM (#31238912)
    Toy Story isn't particularly difficult to render, even at the time you could render scenes with better quality in a matter of minutes so with a decade and a half of doubling every 18 months I'm pretty sure it could be done by your average gaming GPU in realtime. The biggest problem was sufficient memory for texture and model details but with 2GB of ram available on consumer level video card's I don't think that's such a big deal these days.
  • by Korin43 (881732) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:12PM (#31239176) Homepage
    Wouldn't this mean that this is just another step in the direction of letting anyone make movies (without needing a billion dollars with of computers and another billion dollars worth of actors)?
  • Pictures? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by incubbus13 (1631009) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:27PM (#31239308)

    Okay, so this is slightly off-topic, but something I've always wondered about.

    I can take a 12megapixel picture. And reduce it down to a 12k gif. Or 120k or whatever the compression results are.

    At that point, it's just a .gif. (or .jpg or whatever). The computer doesn't know it's any different than a .gif I created in MSPaint, right?

    So if I open GameMaker 7, and use that photo as one of the frames in my character's animation. By repetition, I could create a character moving and walking frame by frame.

    Right? What's wrong with this?

    I understand that on-the-fly rendering is nice. And that the goal is to get a computer to generate a 'real' picture. But. The difference between a 'great' game and an okay one is the graphics. I could (if I could draw) take a pencil and do one of those black and white sketches that almost looks like a photo, and scan it in and use it too.

    What are the technical hurdles or barriers that prevent someone from just doing this?

    K.

  • Boof (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Windwraith (932426) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:28PM (#31239328)

    So this means we are going to see games with movie budgets and no gameplay at all...we already do, but the balance will detriment gameplay even further by reasoning of manpower.

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

    by Jonner (189691) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:36PM (#31239414)

    If Pixar had been able to render scenes with better quality in a matter of minutes, they wouldn't have needed over 100 machines [findarticles.com] in their render farm. In fact, each frame took "from two to 13 hours."

  • Re:Gameplay (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:45PM (#31239498)

    Well, the problem is that even if the game engines can render and animate photorealistic graphics in real time, you still need the artists to produce the models and textures at the requisite quality.

    It used to be if you wanted a building, you could draw a few walls and slap on a texture. Nowadays, especially if you want destructible physics, you'd practically have to draw out a CAD model.

    I think that's one reason why most 3D full-CGI movies are animated/cartoony rather than realistic. It's too much work to make everything perfectly life-like and you run the risk of falling into uncanny valley if you do it wrong.

  • Re:Pictures? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by am 2k (217885) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:52PM (#31239564) Homepage

    Actually, that's how the characters in the older Myst games worked (except that they used this great new technology called "video camera" to get moving pictures into them).

    This was fine in those games, because the viewpoint was always fixed. That's a restriction you don't want to have in current games.

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

    by afidel (530433) on Monday February 22, 2010 @08:55PM (#31239590)
    Well, I was talking about a year after the movie came out, obviously the stuff *before* the movie came out that was used on the multi-year project would have been less powerful. Figure 120 minutes, three doublings of cpu power so divide by eight and you get 15 minutes. Increase ram and you can use better textures or more complex poly's.
  • Re:"Movie-Quality" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zerth (26112) on Monday February 22, 2010 @09:45PM (#31240022)

    According to this [fudzilla.com], the original Toy Story needed about 7 TFLOPS to render in real time, although I've seen higher estimates.

    87 dual-processor and 30 quad-processor 100-MHz SPARCstation 20s took 46 days to do ~75 minutes, so you need to be 883.2 times as fast to render in realtime. Anyone overclock a quadcore processor to 8 GHz? I suppose setup with 4 quadcore cpus @ 2GHz isn't out of reach.

    But then again, the machines might have been IO bound instead of CPU bound, needing to send 7.7 gigabytes per second.

  • by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Monday February 22, 2010 @09:58PM (#31240098)

    I read a really great short story once about a future where all films are made completely on computers, with AI actors. Then one guy starts filming movies with a real girl in them, just with computerized scenery, and doesn't tell anyone. It blows people away just how "real" his films feel compared to normal movies.

    Anyone else read that? It was pretty good.

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

    by Pseudonym (62607) on Monday February 22, 2010 @10:13PM (#31240192)

    Blinn's Law states that the amount of time it takes to compute a frame of film remains constant over time, because audience expectation rises at the same speed as computer power.

    I think it was Tom Duff who commented that one eyeball in a modern Pixar film requires roughly the same amount of work as a frame of Toy Story.

  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Monday February 22, 2010 @11:53PM (#31240844)

    It's also misleading because films can cheat. You can't see something from every angle and cameras don't always have to move through a space so a lot of what you see are flat cards carefully hand painted and positioned in 3D space.

    In the end what really holds back video games is their memory. A small scene can consume in excess of 8GB of memory. That's fine on the CPU where you have a lot of RAM and you can swap back and forth from the HDD. With a GPU you have to load everything into memory which is extremely limiting.

    Renderman which is one of the most popular renderers in feature film production is really a rasterizer with a raytracer slapped on top.

    As long as games can't go through a post-process hand tuned by a team of artists for weeks they'll look inferior to something in which every frame is hand crafted. It's much harder to create a photoreal game than a photoreal movie.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @01:44AM (#31241446)

    I used to work with Sam Mcgrath and I consider him an old friend. I was fortunate enough to be there from the very start of his new engine and see it develop back when there was no company or anything...

    He blew me away years ago with the very basics of its shader editing and render quality. I havent seen newer versions of it in years but... Sam was kicking ass from the start of it.. trust me.

    Sam is an incredibly talented coder, perhaps one of the best and most hard working out there. Sammy, best of luck to you if you see this. And Jon, if you're reading.. and I know you are... Modern Warfare 2 rocked ;P Great job. I'm fucking hooked.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:45AM (#31242322)

    S1m0ne.

  • by Xyde (415798) <[ten.rrrrup] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday February 23, 2010 @04:56AM (#31242364)

    >As long as games can't go through a post-process hand tuned by a team of artists for weeks

    Well I don't know anything about movie production, but I highly doubt they do this. Are you really saying they take their pristine movie output and begin to photoshop it and make adjustments at the frame level? Do you know how laborious that is when you could just, oh, i don't know, adjust the model you already have and rerender those frames? D

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