NVIDIA Brings Metaverse Momentum, Research Breakthroughs and New Pro GPU to SIGGRAPH 

by Brian Caulfield

Award-winning research, stunning demos, a sweeping vision for how NVIDIA Omniverse will accelerate the work of millions more professionals, and a new pro RTX GPU were the highlights at this week’s SIGGRAPH pro graphics conference.

Kicking off the week, NVIDA’s SIGGRAPH special address featuring Richard Kerris, vice president, Omniverse, and Sanja Fidler, senior director, AI research, with an intro by Pixar co-founder Alvy Ray Smith gathered more than 1.6 million views in just 48 hours.

A documentary launched Wednesday, “Connecting in the Metaverse: The Making of the GTC Keynote”  – a behind-the-scenes view into how a small team of artists were able to blur the lines between real and rendered in NVIDIA’s GTC21 keynote achieved more than 360,000 views within the first 24 hours.

In all, NVIDIA brought together professionals from every corner of the industry, hosting over 12 sessions and launching 22 demos this week.

Among the highlights:

It was a week packed with innovations, many captured in a new sizzle reel crammed with new technologies.

Sessions from  the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute brought the latest ideas to veteran developers and students alike.

And the inaugural gathering of the NVIDIA Omniverse User Group brought more than 400 graphics professionals from all over the world together to learn about what’s coming next for Omniverse, to celebrate the work of the community, and announce the winners of the second #CreatewithMarbles: Marvelous Machine contest.

“Your work fuels what we do,” Rev Lebaredian, vice president of Omniverse engineering and simulation at NVIDIA told the scores of Omniverse users gathered for the event.

NVIDIA has been part of the SIGGRAPH community since 1993, with close to 150 papers accepted and NVIDIA employees leading more than 200 technical talks.

And SIGGRAPH has been the venue for some of NVIDIA’s biggest announcements — from OptiX in 2010 to the launch of NVIDIA RTX real-time ray tracing in 2018.

NVIDIA RTX A2000 Makes RTX More Accessible to More Pros

Since then, thanks to its powerful real-time ray tracing and AI acceleration capabilities, NVIDIA RTX technology has transformed design and visualization workflows for the most complex tasks.

Introduced Tuesday, the new NVIDIA RTX A2000 — our most compact, power-efficient GPU — makes it easier to access RTX from anywhere. With the unique packaging of the A2000, there are many new form factors, from backs of displays to edge devices, that are now able to incorporate RTX technology.

The RTX A2000 is designed for everyday workflows, so more professionals can develop photorealistic renderings, build physically accurate simulations and use AI-accelerated tools.

The GPU has 6GB of memory capacity with error correction code, or ECC, to maintain data integrity for uncompromised computing accuracy and reliability.

With remote work part of the new normal, simultaneous collaboration with colleagues on projects across the globe is critical.

NVIDIA RTX technology powers Omniverse, our collaboration and simulation platform that enables teams to iterate together on a single 3D design in real time while working across different software applications.

The A2000 will serve as a portal into this world for millions of designers.

Building the Metaverse

NVIDIA also announced a major expansion of NVIDIA Omniverse — the world’s first simulation and collaboration platform — through new integrations with Blender and Adobe that will open it to millions more users.

Omniverse makes it possible for designers, artists and reviewers to work together in real-time across leading software applications in a shared virtual world from anywhere.

Blender, the world’s leading open-source 3D animation tool, will now have Universal Scene Description, or USD, support, enabling artists to access Omniverse production pipelines.

Adobe is collaborating with NVIDIA on a Substance 3D plugin that will bring Substance Material support to Omniverse, unlocking new material editing capabilities for Omniverse and Substance 3D users.

So far, professionals at over 500 companies, including BMW, Volvo, SHoP Architects, South Park and Lockheed Martin, are evaluating the platform. Since the launch of its open beta in December, Omniverse has been downloaded by over 50,000 individual creators.

NVIDIA Research Showcases Digital Avatars at SIGGRAPH

More innovations are coming.

Highlighting their ongoing contributions to cutting-edge computer graphics, NVIDIA researchers put four AI models to work to serve up a stunning digital avatar demo for SIGGRAPH 2021’s Real-Time Live showcase.

Broadcasting live from our Silicon Valley headquarters, the NVIDIA Research team presented a collection of AI models that can create lifelike virtual characters for projects such as  bandwidth-efficient video conferencing and storytelling.

The demo featured tools to generate digital avatars from a single photo, animate avatars with natural 3D facial motion and convert text to speech.

The demo was just one highlight among a host of contributions from the more than 200 scientists who make up the NVIDIA Research team at this year’s conference.

Papers presented include:

For more on the NVIDIA Research team’s latest breakthroughs, see “Leading Lights: NVIDIA Researchers Showcase Groundbreaking Advancements for Real-Time Graphics.

NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute

These innovations quickly become tools that NVIDIA is hustling to bring to graphics professionals.

Created to help professionals and students master skills that will help them quickly advance their work, NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Institute held sessions covering a range of key technologies at SIGGRAPH.

They included a self-paced training on Getting Started with USD, a live instructor-led course on fundamentals of ray tracing, Using NVIDIA Nsight Graphics and NVIDIA Nsight Systems, a Masterclass by the Masters series on NVIDIA Omniverse, and a Graphics and NVIDIA Omniverse Teaching Kit for educators looking to incorporate hands-on technical training into student coursework.

NVIDIA also showcased how its technology is transforming workflows in several demos, including:

  • Factory of the Future: Participants explored the next era of manufacturing with this demo, which showcases BMW Group’s factory of the future — designed, simulated, operated and maintained entirely in NVIDIA Omniverse.
  • Multiple Artists, One Server: SIGGRAPH attendees could learn how teams can accelerate visual effects production with the NVIDIA EGX platform, which enables multiple artists to work together on a powerful, secure server from anywhere.
  • 3D Photogrammetry on an RTX Mobile Workstation: Participants got to watch how NVIDIA RTX-powered mobile workstations help drive the process of 3D scanning using photogrammetry, whether in a studio or a remote location.
  • Interactive Volumes with NanoVDB in Blender Cycles: Attendees learned how NanoVDB makes volume rendering more GPU memory efficient, meaning larger and more complex scenes can be interactively adjusted and rendered with NVIDIA RTX-accelerated ray tracing and AI denoising.

Want to catch up on all the news from SIGGRAPH? Visit our hub for all things NVIDIA and SIGGRAPH at https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/events/siggraph/