NVIDIA to Showcase the Future of VR Visuals at SIGGRAPH 2019

SIGGRAPH 2019 starts in just over a week, with the Immersive Pavilion and VR Theater showcasing four world premiere’s including Disney’s a kite’s tale. When it comes to technology graphics card giant NVIDIA will be demoing its latest techniques for making videogames look pretty, with a focus on optimising virtual reality (VR) performance.

The company began launching its RTX series cards in 2018, such as the GeForce RTX 2070 and the range-topping RTX Titan. Unlike its standard GTX series, the new RTX cards feature a number of interesting features including Ray-Tracing and Variable Rate Shading (VRS).

It’s the latter VRS that attendees can see in action at SIGGRAPH, in a demo using Autodesk’s VRED. Able to improve image quality and rendering performance at the same time: “VRS works by combining two methods of shading within a single image — supersampling and coarse shading. This enhances image quality by delivering more shading power to objects or surfaces that contain more detail, while increasing performance at the same time,” the company explains in a blog post.

NVIDIA goes on to note that VRS has particular benefits for VR, especially when combined with eye-tracking tech. This is basically foveated rendering which VRFocus has written about many times previously, due to the benefit of reducing the performance load on GPU’s by maximising quality where a person is looking. Foveated rendering is directly supported with Tier 2 VRS, which the NVIDIA RTX architecture supports. Whereas basic Tier 1 VRS can only specify the shading rate based on the high-level geometry.

NVIDIA won’t solely at SIGGRAPH 2019 to show attendees pretty looking RTX VRS images that will one day come to VR headsets worldwide, it’ll also be participating in a number of panel discussions with representatives from Tobii, HTC and Facebook Reality Labs such as “Are We Done with Ray Tracing?”

Recent headset launches like Oculus Rift S and Valve Index have improved the consumer visual experience via improved displays and better optics, so the addition of techniques like VRS can only make things better – when they’re added to affordable consumer products. VRFocus will continue to cover NVIDIA’s latest advancements relating to VR as they’re announced.

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