NVIDIA Acquires Rayscale, Raytracing Start-up

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Dave_HH Posted: Thu, May 22 2008 12:09 PM
NVIDIA Gets Aggressive, Dismisses CPU-GPU FusionWord from sunny Santa Clara-based NVIDIA Corp, is that the graphics giant has moved in on an acquisition of Utah-based RayScale, a 10 year-old start-up and productization of development work from few key people at the University of Utah.  RayScale currently has a product available for Autodesk Maya, dubbed LightNow.  Lightnow apparently offers interactive feedback with physically-based raytracing techniques, in combination with high quality batch rendering.  One of the advantages of physical-based rendering is that it automatically calculates raytraced shadowing from all available light sources.

Raytraced image - courtesy RayScale

Rayscale is currently in the beta phase of their first product release with support for the following features:

  • Lambert, Phong, PhongE, Blinn, and Anisotropic materials
  • Maya lights
  • Fully responsive ray traced rendering window that updates to changes in the Maya model's geometry or materials
  • Integration with Maya Rendering window
  • Simple ray tracing
  • Global illumination
  • HDR rendering
  • Environment mapping
This new acquisition, from NVIDIA's perspective, certainly underscores the importance of raytracing technology in conjunction with standard rasterization techniques.  Previously NVIDIA was a bit cool on the topic of raytracing, with some NVIDIA execs pointing out its shortcomings in rendering speed, referring to it only as complementary in certain scenarios.  Today however, it seems that raytracing has indeed moved more squarely in to NVIDIA's radar scope, perhaps to assist in the battle on their own turf that Intel is promising to wage with a vengeance in the months ahead.

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Ido raytracing all the time. granted its in a 3d app, but still. It will be nice once the vid card can do it in real time, you'll get some nice looking glass and water then.

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Larabee is focused very much on ray tracing if I'm understanding everything right.  So Nvidia is heading to this in the future too then, it appears.  I wonder if AMD has anything on the table for ray tracing. 

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SqUiD267 replied on Thu, May 22 2008 7:12 PM

 I hope ATI some how gets this technology..

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