Caustic Releases CausticRT Raytracing System

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News Posted: Mon, Apr 20 2009 5:28 PM

Caustic Reinvents Raytracing for Interactive, Cinema-Quality 3D Graphics

Company Releases Caustic RT - Flexible Development Platform for No-Compromise Raytracing


SAN FRANCISCO - April 20, 2009 - Today Caustic Graphics released CausticRT, the worlds only massively accelerated raytracing system for achieving breakthrough levels of quality in interactive, cinema-quality 3D computer graphics. The Caustic development platform, which includes a raytracing accelerator card and SDK, are now available to qualified developers so they can create new or port their existing 3D applications to Caustic and deliver fast, efficient raytracing to their customers.


Raytracing duplicates the natural physics of light, creating stunning images by meticulously tracing the path of light to and throughout any given scene. Light rays naturally scatter in many different directions (incoherent rays), and tracing and shading them requires memory access to many disparate parts of the scene, a previously impossible caching task. CausticRT is based on a breakthrough algorithm that addresses this issue and organizes incoherent rays into a data flow that takes advantage of the full computational power of CPUs and GPUs.



"CausticRT does not displace a GPU or CPU in a graphics system, rather it acts as a co-processor that traces rays and schedules the results in a manner that allows GPUs or CPUs to shade them as efficiently as they do with rasterization," said James McCombe, co-founder and CTO of Caustic Graphics. "We are working with an emerging developer community to create new or port their existing renderers and applications to Caustic so artists and designers can take advantage of the photorealism and visual effects that make raytracing so compelling over rasterization."


"A breakthrough in raytracing would have a tremendous impact on our customers, allowing them to significantly shrink design cycles, communicate concepts quickly at a highest level and get designs to market faster," said Gray Holland, chief design officer at Nemetschek Allplan GmbH, global leader in design technologies for the architecture, engineering, and construction. "I am enthusiastic about what Caustic has created and will be evaluating it for potential integration into our product lines."


The release of CausticRT includes the CausticOne raytracing accelerator card and the CausticGL programming API. CausticGL is a programming API based on OpenGL. CausticOne is an optional co-processor that works with CausticGL. It unlocks the ability of your GPU/CPU to efficiently shade and allows it to render stunning 3D imagery up to 20 times faster than it can today. A supporting SDK includes documentation, access to the support portal and knowledgebase, and a one-year subscription to hardware and software updates, as well as technical support.

The first product being ported to Caustic is Brazil from graphics innovator SplutterFish. Caustic Graphics recently acquired SplutterFish in order to fully demonstrate Caustic implemented in a production renderer and allow the company to document and streamline the process for other developers. Brazil is currently implemented in 3ds Max and Rhinoceros 3D, and as a standalone renderer. It will support CausticRT in its next release due out early next year.



Pricing and availability
The CausticRT platform is US $4,000 and includes CausticGL, a CausticOne card, and one year of firmware and software updates. Developers may also purchase a one-year subscription for US $2,500 that includes support for up to 10 incidents. Also available is CausticEngage a consulting services program for developers that want additional support in creating or porting their application to CausticRT.




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acarzt replied on Mon, Apr 20 2009 8:05 PM

I totally forgot about ray tracing... Ray Tracing is the ***! I wonder how long before Nvidia or ATI tries to pick these guys up?

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Raytracing make the world go round... I love using them when i can when i make my 3d stuff...

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Apr 21 2009 12:11 PM

nVidia was already showing off GPU ray tracing last year at faster framerates (http://hothardware.com/News/NVIDIA-Shows-Interactive-Ray-Tracing-on-GPUs/). Though, the capabilities were somewhat limited.

I wouldn't bet against seeing cards that make this truly practical within the next four or five years.

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