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Chaos Group Shows Off Future of GPU Rendering / Real-Time Ray-Tracing at GPU Technology Conference

New R&D unlocks unprecedented rendering speeds in V-Ray with NVIDIA’s new ray tracking hardware.


At the recent NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, the Chaos Group showed the first public demonstration of its future GPU rendering technology, known as Project Lavina. It is the world’s first real-time ray tracer that works without a game engine.

The Chaos Group is showing Project Lavina and how its new GPU rendering technology takes advantage of NVIDIA RTX™ ray-tracing cores to achieve the fastest rendering speeds ever.

The Future of GPU Rendering at Chaos Group

Chaos Group is now working on a new version of the V-Ray rendering engine that is being built to take full advantage of the dedicated ray-tracing cores available in NVIDIA RTX GPUs. Working with NVIDIA’s engineers, the collective team has achieved new benchmarks. Compared to the current CUDA version, benchmarks of the new RTX-powered V-Ray GPU are over 2x as fast and up to 4x faster for select scenes.

01 – Project Lavina was demoed last August but gains further advancement on NVIDIA RTX hardware and with Chaos Group’s continued software development.

“We’re always looking to take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities in our solutions, and the RTX cards are an exciting new development for ray tracing,” said Vlado Koylazov, Chaos Group co-founder and CTO. “And this is just the beginning. We’re excited to see how these faster rendering speeds will benefit artists and designers.”

The new RTX-enabled version of V-Ray GPU shown at [NVIDIA] GTC already includes what is needed to render most production scenes, such as motion blur, hair, particles, and subsurface scattering. For release, Chaos Group plans to support all V-Ray GPU features, including volume rendering, and whenever an NVIDIA RTX card is detected, the speed increase will be automatic.

Beyond high-performance GPU production rendering, NVIDIA RTX hardware drives Chaos Group’s groundbreaking real-time ray tracer, Project Lavina. Unlike recent efforts at real-time ray-tracing, which often just layer raster graphics with ray-traced effects, Project Lavina is 100 percent ray-traced. This means it provides the highest level of accuracy and realism.

This video from the last SIGGRAPH demos “Project Lavina.” 

For example, to start a real-time experience with Project Lavina, a user can simply drag and drop a V-Ray Scene into the Lavina viewer. This lets any artist or designer immediately explore photorealistic scenes in real-time, without having to learn how to use a game engine. Because of the inherent advantages of ray tracing, there is no time-consuming setup of UV maps or baking lights. There is also no need to reduce geometry or limit triangles, as Lavina can easily ray trace billions of polygons at real-time speeds.

New Since SIGGRAPH 2018—Lavina Progress

Since its debut at SIGGRAPH 2018, Lavina development has progressed rapidly. Notably, the Lavina team has implemented a new denoising algorithm for near noise-free interactivity. Current builds also include support for collision detection, procedural textures and V-Ray’s proprietary Light Cache global illumination for substantially better light quality in interior scenes.

Architosh Analysis

The quality of the real-time ray-tracing from Project Lavina was clearly impressive last August when Architosh first wrote about it. Since that time, NVIDIA has continued to improve upon the work of developers with optimizations to their graphics technology. While this technology has its sights on gaming in general, it has powerful importance to the world of professional visualization and downstream immersive interactions in MX gear. 

The Turing architecture that NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs was designed around was developed from the start to work with DXR-type workloads. To learn what this means in relation to older GTX hardware, NVIDIA has an excellent play-by-play explainer here

For users with a clear interest in Chaos Group’s new Lavina technology, the NVIDIA GPUs of interest are the Turing RTX cards that support the dedicated RT cores. Lastly, Chaos Group says its Project Lavina technology will not be just limited to V-Ray Next but also to the Corona renderer as well. 


[Editor’s Note: We earlier mislabeled this news as being associated with the Game Developers Conference rather than the NVIDIA GTC which both happened approximately at the same time. The article has been corrected.  26 March 2019. – AFR]

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