NVIDIA DEMONSTRATES FUTURE OF GPU TECHNOLOGY AT SIGGRAPH 2011

by Will Park

This past week was a big one for NVIDIA at Siggraph 2011, the pre-eminent show for the professional computer graphics industry. We delivered tech demos and a blockbuster lineup of theater presentations from industry luminaries on the latest trends and concerns of graphics professionals.

Along with our partners Adobe, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, Dell, HP and Lenovo, we recognize the increasing need of graphics professionals for more efficient workflows, decreased turnaround times and remote project collaboration.

Two upcoming technologies were demonstrated involving some of our key ISVs and hardware-ecosystem partners: Quadro Virtual Graphics Technology and Project Maximus. These groundbreaking demos gave attendees a preview of what’s in store for them in the near future.

The Quadro Virtual Graphics Technology, also known as Project Monterey, moves the Quadro graphics card from the desktop to a remote server. This allows a user to take advantage of a Quadro graphics card via a network connection, essentially boosting the resources available to that user.

Many of the demos at the NVIDIA booth were powered by Project Maximus technology. With a Quadro 6000 graphics card mated to a Tesla GPU, upcoming Maximus-powered workstations allow graphics and modeling processes to be tasked to the Quadro graphics card, with final rendering and animation tasks handled by the Tesla GPU. This decreases the time it takes to render scenes, allowing for faster turnaround times and higher-quality production.

There was a preview of Autodesk 3ds Max 2012, incorporating NVIDIA iray in ActiveShade. Thanks to the collaborative efforts between NVIDIA and Autodesk, 3ds Max subscribers will soon be able to interactively edit their scenes while iray renders live in the 3ds Max ActiveShade viewport. By reducing the need to continually render a scene to ensure accuracy, the next generation of 3ds Max will give graphics professionals a more efficient workflow.

Adobe was also at the NVIDIA booth to show off their latest research project on 3D compositing. The demonstration showed off the power of an interactive ray-traced 3D renderer within a compositing framework that allows for ray-traced reflections, refractions and accurate lighting leveraging the power of CUDA and NVIDIA GPUs. Armed with this technology, a compositing expert could render 3D effects without having to learn a new tool.

And, to help improve remote project collaboration, we showcased our Quadro Virtual Graphics Technology, based on our ongoing Project Monterey research, allowing multiple production seats to be accessed remotely from mobile devices such as tablets so professionals can share and integrate their work collaboratively, without the need for individual desktop workstations for each user.

But it’s wasn’t just all work and no play at SIGGRAPH. NVIDIA sponsored the “NVArt 6: Moving Innovation” competition as well as hosting the NVIDIA Sketch Match competition on the show floor. We gave away tons of amazing software suites (thanks to Adobe and AutoDesk), Quadro 4000 graphics cards (thanks to PNY), Wacom tablets, and some impressive cash prizes.

Take a look at the video below to get a glimpse of what it was like to be at SIGGRAPH 2011 in person.

See you next year at SIGGRAPH 2012 in Los Angeles.