At Gamescom 2018, Nvidia unveiled the new GeForce RTX GPU series. This article discusses how Ray Tracing differs from traditional screening techniques, why it is important for the future of gaming, and of course how it will affect the purchase of your next gaming computer, gaming desktop, gaming laptop, or console.
Ray tracing works by simulating the actual beams of light using an algorithm that tracks the path a beam of light takes in the physical world. Simply put, Ray Tracing is a technique to make light in video games the way it is in real life. A beam tracking algorithm builds an image by propagating rays across the scene, bouncing them off the surface of the light source, and approximating the color values of each pixel.
For years ray tracing technology has been used in the film industry to simulate realistic light and shadow conditions, designed in 1969. Ray tracing has also replaced the traditional reproduction of light effects in games to create lifelike representations of scenes based on how light interacts with the real world. Using Ray Tracing, game designers can bounce off virtual light beams on objects, cast realistic shadows, and create lifelike reflections.
Ray tracing is a lighting technique that gives games an additional level of realism. It mimics the way light is reflected and refracted in the real world and provides a more credible environment than what you see with static lighting in traditional games. Nvidia believes that the best way to understand beam tracking is to analyze the objects you light up every second of the day.
Since ray-tracing works by tracking and simulating the rays of light produced by a light source, it takes a lot of power to render it. A good graphics card can use Ray Tracing to improve immersion, but not every GPU can handle it. Only Nvidia RTX lineup of graphics card support Ray Tracing. Ray tracing was impractical for video games and is currently limited to the Hollywood film world where it is used to create computer-generated images, animations, and visual effects and blend them with live-action material. Nowadays, it is possible to trace rays in PC games, with some of the biggest titles implementing the technology and using it in a limited way to represent realistic reflections and shadows.
Since radiation tracking is based on simulations of how light moves in real life, how it behaves when it interacts with physical substances and materials, and how it is governed by physics laws, CGI-generated radiation tracking can be highly photorealistic.
Ray tracing is a rendering technique in 3D computer graphics that creates images by following the path of light through pixels on an image plane and simulating the effects of light on virtual objects. Ray tracing is able to generate a higher degree of visual realism than typical scanline rendering methods but at a higher level of computational effort. This makes it more suitable for applications that take a long time to render and to tolerate, such as computer-generated images for film, television, and visual effects (VFX), but less suitable for real-time applications such as video games where speed is crucial to the display of any image.
In CGI and ray tracing games, the GPU does not calculate how light is reflected or refracted in a particular scene; it calculates how light is captured by the lens from your perspective. Since most games do not simulate the behavior of light in the real world, they simulate it. This is a technique that makes it difficult to create realistic shadows and reflections. In bright light, virtual photons are calculated in a beam-tracking game so that they have more surfaces on which to reflect, refract or scatter.
In an interview with Gamers Nexus, Nvidia’s Tom Peterson described Ray tracing as a physics-based method of creating images as opposed to an artistic method of creating light sources in the real world – say the lamp in your bedroom that produces photons that bounce around space until they reach your eyes. A visual explanation can be found in Disney’s handy Tracking Guide, shown below in the GIF. A beam of light starts at a light source and travels through space, being absorbed, diffused, refracted, and reflected by various objects on their way.