NVIDIA's Cloud Rendering

NVIDIA announces CloudLight, a cloud-based "system for amortizing indirect lighting in real-time rendering." They say this new framework "explores tradeoffs in different partitions of the global illumination workload between Cloud and local devices, with an eye to how available network and computational power influence design decisions and image quality." This video offers a look at what this means in case the following explanation isn't crystal clear:
We introduce CloudLight, a system for computing indirect lighting in the Cloud to support real-time rendering for interactive 3D applications on a user's local device. CloudLight maps the traditional graphics pipeline onto a distributed system. That differs from a single-machine renderer in three fundamental ways. First, the mapping introduces potential asymmetry between computational resources available at the Cloud and local device sides of the pipeline. Second, compared to a hardware memory bus, the network introduces relatively large latency and low bandwidth between certain pipeline stages. Third, for multi-user virtual environments, a Cloud solution can amortize expensive global illumination costs across users. Our new CloudLight framework explores tradeoffs in different partitions of the global illumination workload between Cloud and local devices, with an eye to how available network and computational power influence design decisions and image quality. We describe the tradeoffs and characteristics of mapping three known lighting algorithms to our system and demonstrate scaling for up to 50 simultaneous CloudLight users.

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Re: NVIDIA's Cloud Rendering
Jul 29, 2013, 16:23
20.
Re: NVIDIA's Cloud Rendering Jul 29, 2013, 16:23
Jul 29, 2013, 16:23
 
It's important to note that the demo shown is a method to essentially precompute irradiance transfers and streams those to clients. It doesn't do ray tracing or path tracing, so this isn't a scientifically accurate render. GPUs are capable of correctly simulating light using compute shaders (OpenCL, DirectX11, CUDA) to do what is called an unbiased render.

A few notable engines that support indirect illumination are DICE's Frostbite 2 which simulates radiosity via the spherical harmonics method, and the latest Unreal engine which uses the voxel method, similar to one shown in the nVidia demo here.

So, it's not groundbreaking tech as far as rendering, but it's still pretty awesome.
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