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SIGGRAPH 2021 — Year of the Metaverse, and Virtual and Global Production (Part 2)

Part 2 of our SIGGRAPH report covers technologies from rendering to animation and beyond to the hardware to accelerate both.

Continued from page 1


Dell and NVIDIA hosted a Fireside Chat about NVIDIA Omniverse at SIGGRAPH with Kristen Soulvis, CEO from Like a Photon; Dan Stein, Director Design Technology from Lake|Flat Architects; Gary Radburn, Director of Emerging Technologies from Dell; Jeff Kember, Director of Developer Relations for Omniverse from NVIDIA, and moderated by Matt Allard from Dell.

This panel discussed how Omniverse is playing a significant role in companies in the creative space. As previously mentioned, the Omniverse saves time by enabling multiple people to work together using real-time rendering technologies. It also contributes to trust by seeing work in real-time by others, enhancing collaborative workflows.


Qualcomm delivers Boundless XR over 5G. Boundless XR provides distribution through split rendering to give a totally immersive experience in XR. The Edge Cloud Server augments On-device rendering and processing for graphics rendering to 5G XR headsets. The solution enables optimization for multiple users, low-latency, high-throughput, and reliability, says the company.

Erickson G Node B provides 5mm-Wave over low latency high-speed connectivity. The Content Rendering Server executes the computation and rendering to provides photorealistic renderings.


Qualisys is a motion capture solutions company from Sweden that offers a wide variety of products for the MoCap industry. The company makes MoCap software in its Qualisys Track Manager (QTM), which can sync with a wide variety of input sources from drone swarms, force plates, EMG, eye trackers, and other devices.

Qualisys also makes a MoCap suit designed using kinetic garment construction principles.

Qualisys features are multi-person object tracking, real-time, extremely low latency, sub-millimeter precision, active and passive marker tracking, 6 degrees of freedom tracking, large volume coverage, free-roaming VR experience, high uptime, easy to install, and open-source game plugins for Unity and Unreal. Other plugins support Maya, MotionBuilder, PAF, and a Real-Time SDK.

There Analysis Module tools serve clinical environments for gait, rehab, and sports use-cases. Qualisys also makes a mocap suit (see above and below). The suite offers scientific accuracy and is comfortable for long sessions. You can see the suite in action in videos on the website here.

MoCap in action at Qualisys.

Qualisys also showed off cameras and trackers for use with their software. Arqus is designed for the higher-performing motion capture platform. Miqus fits everything you need for a smaller motion capture project. Qualisys for animation is a real-time solving solution for multiple characters streamed directly to the game engine or animation software. The Active Traqr is an active tracking device that is compact and lightweight, plated with four active markers, and providing positional and orientational data in real-time.

Hypertec and AMD

Hypertec, a Montreal, Canada-based company, announced new workstations and servers based on the AMD CPU architecture. Hypertec delivers custom hardware for enterprise and creative pipelines.

Canada workstation maker Hypertec’s new KRONOS 740A-G5 is a powerful Ryzen 5000 series-based computer for creative pros, offering NVIDIA RTX and AMD Radeon PRO GPUs. The systems are liquid-cooled.

Hypertec introduced the Ciara Kronos 740A-G5 workstation hardware featuring AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors which offer very high single-threaded performance compared to Intel’s 10th generation and current Xeon processors and excellent multi-threaded performance and cores per dollar ratios. For detailed specs and more information including pricing, you should visit here.

The Kronos 840A-G5 features the powerful AMD Threadripper CPU for the ultimate multi-core processing power.

Hypertec also discussed its Kronos 840 series workstations which utilize the AMD Ryzen Threadripper for maximum and industry-leading cores and performance. The Kronos 840A-G5 features AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs with 24 – 64 cores.

The company also showed its Ciara RS620Q 2U 4-nodes rack-mounted computer which will be powered by a single or dual AMD Epyc CPU. The high-performance system is also liquid-cooled, offers 3TB of DDR4 memory per node and features hot-swap HDD SATA/SAS drives (6 per node).

The Ciara Kronos workstations are a powerful addition to the AMD Ryzen family of workstations and servers. Epic Games uses AMD Threadrippers in its pipeline for development. The Ciara Kronos 740A-G5 is a great robust workstation for CAD and projects in Twinmotion, and if you are working in Unreal, you may consider Ciara Kronos 840 series workstations for even more power.

The Final Comments

This year due to the virtual nature of SIGGRAPH 2021, the show was primarily platform-agnostic, mainly focusing on the cloud and the Metaverse and virtual production.

It was good to see Apple, Pixar, and NVIDIA collaborating to bring advanced physics to USD. You may wonder if this could be a promising sign of NVIDIA RTX technology coming to the future for Apple hardware. Architosh has noted in the past that NVIDIA and Apple fell out years ago, and the relationship has been complicated for years. Look to Anthony’s writing on semiconductors and Apple to understand more about what is possible and likely or unlikely concerning real-time, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and the like.

A nice thing about USD is that you can work as an artist in any software package without worrying about importing and exporting files and doing it seamlessly even with larger data sets.

Architectural firms like SHoP Architects are adopting Omniverse for their firm, and I imagine most larger architectural firms will explore it and begin to follow in SHoP Architect’s footsteps. Omniverse offers exciting possibilities for the AEC world. Still, Anthony’s writing has noted that at least one Nemetschek Group company thinks Omniverse will grow to complement existing and evolving collaborative workflows in AEC like IFC, BCF and others.

Regardless, pipelines were jolted by the global pandemic, and it has forced companies to work in new ways. You no longer need to work inside an office; you can work from home or anywhere and fit into various workflows and digital production pipelines.

The Metaverse, in all its elaborate evolution, is coming. Enterprises and companies are making themselves aware and prepared. There are exciting opportunities. On the pathway there, the cloud and Virtual Production will create exciting opportunities and digital tool revolutions across various platforms, from Macs and PCs to iOS and Android.

Next year, let’s hope we can see each other in person, or perhaps we shall have a SIGGRAPH in Omniverse!

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