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Porsche has used Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and Nvidia’s graphics chips to design its own cars. The companies showed a demo, dubbed Speed of Light, of what they’ve done together at the Siggraph computer graphics show in Vancouver, Canada.

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, showed off the demo during a keynote speech, as part of a demonstration of what Nvidia’s latest Turing-based Quadro real-time chips can do. Christian Braun, manage of virtual design at Porsche, said in a statement that he has always had a vision for a design pipeline which uses a single technology at its core, and Porsche has frequently experimented with Unreal.

“This is the single greatest leap we have ever made in a single generation,” Huang said in the speech.

“Porsche’s collaboration with Epic and Nvidia has exceeded all expectations from both a creative and technological perspective,” said Braun. “The achieved results are proof that real-time technology is revolutionizing how we design and market our vehicles.”


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The ability to do “offline quality” has been a roadblock for real-time technologies (such as Unreal Engine) as the unifying technology. But the Siggraph demo shows real-time ray tracing with dynamic global illumination for a car dubbed the Porsche 911 Speedster Concept.

Porsche’s concept car is the first ever visualized with interactive real-time ray tracing.

For filmmakers, this has big implications. The real-time ray tracing capability will be built into a forthcoming release of Unreal Engine that will make it possible to have real-time, photorealistic ray traced rendering and interactive lighting as part of virtual production/VFX workflows. This kind of workflow has been a long sought in digital filmmaking.

“The Porsche 911 Speedster Concept is the first car to be visualized with interactive real-time ray tracing,” said Francois Antoine, director of HMI at Epic Games, and creative director and VFX supervisor on the project, in a statement. “In concert with Nvidia we’re accelerating the adoption of real-time ray tracing across many industries.”

“Nvidia RTX technology is purpose-built to provide a generational leap in the quality of real-time computer graphics, and ‘The Speed of Light’ perfectly demonstrates that we are delivering on our promises,” said Tony Tamasi, senior vice president of content and technology at Nvidia, in a statement. “With Unreal Engine it’s possible to create physically-accurate, realistic scenes that feature a level of fidelity and detail we’ve previously only been able to imagine.”

The enabling of real-time ray tracing with ray-traced diffuse global illumination in Unreal Engine has made it possible for Porsche to visualize this latest concept car, which will be made available to consumers. The experimental real-time ray tracing features will be built into a future Unreal Engine 4 release to benefit the entire development community.

“When you see the quality of the cinematic, it’s remarkable to note that no baking or lightmaps were required. There is no precomputed lighting. It’s all fully dynamic for both objects and light,” said Antoine. “When we’re designing cars, we have to explore every option from every angle, and having the ability to review fully visualized renders in real time has completely transformed the way we ideate.”

Epic said that bringing dynamic global illumination and ray-traced lighting to Unreal Engine is a critical development for users who work with very large datasets, and the advancements will benefit creators in game development, filmmaking, architecture, design, manufacturing, AR/VR and simulation.

“The Speed of Light” demo debuted running on two Nvidia Quadro RTX cards. New Unreal Engine features demonstrated include ray-traced translucency, ray-traced rectangular area light shadows, ray-traced reflections, ray-traced diffuse global illumination, and dynamic textured area lights.

“With Turing architecture Nvidia have shattered the photorealism barrier that current-generation rasterizing techniques have presented until now,” said Kim Libreri, CTO, Epic Games, in a statement. “Just as we saw with the movie business over a decade ago, ray tracing is going to revolutionize the realism of real-time applications, cinematic experiences and high-end games. Now, we will see artists and designers using Unreal Engine technology to create, view and interact with content that is indistinguishable from reality.”

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