NVIDIA recently asked me to provide some thoughts about our use of Octane in the Vegas: Alter Your Reality 360º animation project, seen in the above-embedded video. This was the largest project I have used GPU rendering on to date, and the amount of refinement that we were able to do due to the insanely fast render times was a luxury that I just simply have never had. GPU rendering has massively changed the speed at which CGI can be generated and iterated, and it is only getting better and faster. Renders that literally took hours a few years ago are now almost realtime, which is allowing experimentation and refinement that was previously just simply too expensive to attempt.
The speed and quality of current 3D tools has opened the door to an interesting new kind of CG – an experimental / arty /weird type of imagery that would have cost millions of dollars to produce previously, but is now easy enough to create that an individual can make new images and animations almost daily (or in the case of Beeple, actually daily). To see what I mean, you should take a wander through some of these Instagram hashtags: #octanerender, #octane, #c4D, #renderzone, #render, #mdcommunity. There are also a few great subreddits for this kind of “everyday” CGI: r/simulated, r/cinema4d, and r/motiondesign.
The video below is pretty great at explaining where rendering is heading, and this article points to a few ways that A.I. and other emerging technology are affecting computer generated imagery (and our concept of what is possible… and even what is real). It seems like computer graphics are seeing almost daily improvements in speed, accuracy, and complexity – if you are as interested in these developments as I am, you might really enjoy the Two Minute Papers YouTube channel, some of it is super nerdy, but most is pretty accessible and all of it is very impressive. All of this advancement has led to improved visuals in traditional 2D mediums, but is also making its way into the realtime rendering that drives VR / AR – we are going to build the Matrix… eventually.