Real time interactive raytracing with refraction, reflection and more?

Started by zaxxon, November 29, 2012, 02:56:49 pm

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How many hours of our lives have been spent waiting for the screen to render? Not to mention high quality test renders that didn't work. I still remember springing out of bed in the morning (early) to see how many scan lines had popped up overnight on my first raytracer (Imagine on the Amiga). And with each successive upgrade of hardware trying to keep pace with the expanded options in the software, it seemed that the render times only increased with the expanded possibilities at hand. Sigh... Terragen 2 like some other beasts in my collection has animation capability, but with time considerations that only a Methusela could utilize (hello renderfarms!). Check out this video. The SDK looks to be a free download to developers, the implementation in Maya and Max is available in software for 299 US Dollars, the accelerator board is listed at 1595 US. Not cheap, but this would be so cool with T2.


Well, these topics come up every now and then and for good reasons. In traditional situations of raytracing and rendering these plugins and technologies are really interesting.

Unfortunately Terragen 2 is not a "traditional raytracer". It has a different basis (REYES) and uses other ways to compute the pixels than the more traditional ways modern raytracers do.
In other words: these solutions are likely not suitable for TG2.

A detailed terrain will create SO many polygons in cache which will likely suffocate any current pure raytracer.
TG2 deals with this data differently and that's at the moment very difficult to completely port to a traditional way of ray tracing, let alone a GPU.
Displacement and shader complexity is very high in TG2 and difficult/slow to raytrace.

However, I noticed that currently the most time of my render process is spent on rendering objects like grasses/bushes/trees and the like.
As far as I know the way this renders is a traditional way of raytracing.
I think the raytracer for objects can be greatly improved (and needs to). Not only speed, but also in quality and shading options.
Rendering an empty scene with one object against the sky with the "ray trace everything" option is still pretty slow and inferior in quality to more modern raytracers.

The raytracer for the terrain is a different story, as I explained, and during the render process for objects stuff like shadows and reflections from surfaces are being delivered from the "slow" part of the renderer (the REYES raytracer) to the object renderer.

Anyway, it's something along this line as far as I understand so far.

Zairyn Arsyn

i can relate to this... many hours or nights wasted :/
back when i was just starting out learning 3D software and coping with the Hardware of the past.


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