Ray Tracing Technology: The future of Gaming graphics

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Ray tracing has been the talk of the town after its announcement at 2018 Gamescom by Nvidia. One can say it the holy grail of graphics rendering technology. The newest generation server-class Quadro graphics processors, the Quadro RTX family can handle it in real-time. Till now it the is the most significant graphics upgrades in the gaming industry as we have seen.

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What is Ray Tracing?

Now the question is, what is it? In layman’s term, it is a rendering technique that produces photo-realistic graphics with true lifelike lighting and shadows formations. The process considers the physical properties of rendered objects and their composition to simulate the interaction of light with them, including the level of light reflection, absorption, or refraction. It’s like what TV shows and movies use to create and blend with real-life scenes. It takes a lot of power to render as it works by tracking and simulating of light produced by a source. For this reason, we haven’t seen its implementation in games.

ray tracing and rasterization

Ray tracing’s essential resemblance to real-life makes it an exceptionally realistic 3D rendering technique. There’s simply one problem: It’s difficult to simulate. Recreating the method light truly works in the world is made complex and resource extensive, needing masses of calculating power. Even Nvidia’s ray tracing making isn’t real ray tracing, where every point of light is simulated. Instead, it utilizes smart approximations to produce something close to the same visual effect, however, without being instead of as burdening on the hardware.

The majority of ray tracing games now utilize a mix of conventional lighting techniques, usually called rasterization, and ray tracing on particular surface areas such as reflective puddles and metalwork. Battlefield V is a fantastic example of that. You see the reflection of soldiers in water, the reflection of the surface on aircraft, and the reflection of an explosion on a vehicle’s paint. It’s possible to show reflections in modern-day 3D engines, however not at the level of detail displayed in games like Battlefield V when you enable ray tracing.

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It can likewise be leveraged for shadows to make them more reasonable and vibrant looking. You can see that in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Ray-traced lighting can produce far more realistic shadows in bright and dark scenes, with softer edges and higher definition. Attaining that appearance without ray tracing is extremely difficult. Designers can just “fake” it through, regulated usage of the preset source of lights. That takes a lot of time and effort– and even then, the outcome isn’t right.

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Some games go the entire hog and usage ray tracing for global lighting, successfully ray tracing a whole scene. That’s the most computationally costly and requires the most effective of modern graphics cards to run successfully. City Exodus utilizes it presently; however, its implementation isn’t ideal.

Simulating any of these results isn’t simple, which is why modern real-time 3D graphics– consisting of those utilized in 3D games– need to use half measures usually. Nvidia utilizes techniques consisting of denoising and Deep Learning Super Sampling to enhance performance and to conceal a few of the visual hiccups that take place from rendering fewer rays than would be essential to produce a genuinely ray-traced scene.

How does it works?

Light comes to us in real life. Light waves comprise of many countless photons coming from a light source bounces through different surfaces and hit right in the eyeballs. Our brain then interprets all these different rays of light into one complete image.

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Ray tracing functions almost the same method, other than that whatever typically moves the opposite directions. Inside the software, ray-traced light starts at the viewer and moves outward, outlining a path that bounces across many objects, sometimes even handling their color and reflective properties, till the software identifies the proper source of light(s) that would affect that specific ray. This way of simulating vision backward is much more useful for a computer to manage than attempting to trace the rays from the source of light.

The only light paths that require to be rendered are the ones that fit into the user’s field of view. It takes far less computing power to show what remains in front of you than it would render the rays emitted from all sources of light in a scene.

Nvidia’s RTX generation graphic cards are specially built for ray-tracing. The RT cores are used by the company’s Turing architecture to handle the technique in real-time. The RTX cards are not necessary for ray tracing. Its effects are also achieved by GTX 10 and 16 series graphics cards, however, they are less capable than the RTX cards such as 2070, 2080 and 2080ti.

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An RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 ti roughly give a similar performance for the games where there is no ray tracing. But when it is applied, the 1080ti takes much longer time without the RT cores to generate the same image than 2080. The GTX 1080ti struggle with ray tracing games when played above 1080p. However, the RTX 2080ti with most RT cores also struggles to hit 60 FPS in games like Battlefield V or Metro Exodus at 1440p with enabled. But this card can deliver high frame rates at 4k without ray-tracing.

It’s Future

It’s early days for real-time ray tracing in the game industry. Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards are presently the only consumer-level GPUs that use hardware-based assistance for the technique. As more and more stakeholders leap on board, the future appears to be brighter and brighter.

Microsoft incorporated ray-tracing assistance into DirectX 12, a software application for Windows and Xbox One games. At the 2019 Game Developers Conference in March, Epic Games and Unity Technologies which are 2 of the most popular engines in modern-day video game development revealed that their game engines will now provide support for ray tracing. Crytek will soon incorporate software-based ray tracing into its CryEngine, suggesting that the function can operate in CryEngine games without dedicated hardware such as Nvidia’s RTX cards.

May also like to read: Augmented Reality (AR) Gamings Bring Your 3DS Experience to An Entire New Level

All the discussion on how ray tracing is the future of graphics rendering might sound overblown when you consider it in regards to basic shadows and reflections; however, the truth is that adequately modeling light is the foundation of simulating the reality.

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Whooptous News Desk
We are a group of Engineers who are tech enthusiasts and like to make people aware of the latest technologies and how it may also help people to enhance and improve life. We dig deep into the below-ground depths of technological understanding, digging up the most vital, behind-the-scenes information. Contact Whooptous staff at [email protected] or by filling the Contact Form.

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