The Future of Technology: Ray Tracing

Nolen Cooper, Reporter

Ray-Tracing has potential to be the future of computer graphics, from video games like Battlefield V, to car design with BMW. Ray tracing is a rendering technique that allows the graphics processing unit (GPU) to trace the path of light, then simulate the way that the light interacts with objects, and produces realistic lighting effects.

“I really want raytracing to be standard for video games, it looks good, and makes the experience more immersive,” sophomore Marcus Temple said.

In video games, this is called realtime ray tracing, because it is done as the game is moving. This technique is very taxing on the GPU. Most new GPU models, such as the NVIDIA GTX 2080 have support for realtime ray tracing, some older model GPU’s will have ray tracing added.

“It’s so realistic that sometimes I don’t believe it’s a game; it looks just like real life,” sophomore Pierce Nosser said.

The NVIDIA GTX 1060 and above should have ray tracing available soon in a lower quality than the newer graphics cards. NVIDIA stated that pascal and turing would take two to three times longer to render each frame an old GPU.

“The GTX 2080 is way too expensive, so it is good that older can have some form of ray tracing, even if it is slower,” Temple said.

In car design, ray tracing can help engineers with realistic renders of new designs and ray tracing will allow them to find and flaws in design that may introduce dangerous reflections or blind spots before production starts. BMW is working with NVIDIA and Unity to showcase the possibilities of ray tracing in a demo called, “Reality vs Illusion: Unity Real-time Ray Tracing.” Viewers are shown a real car and a version rendered using ray tracing, then the viewer must try and choose which car is real and which is rendered.

“Ray tracing is going to be the future of all rendering, and CGI in movies,” junior Jory Spiroff said.