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Quasi-random, more or less unbiased blog about real-time photorealistic GPU rendering

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    Another real-time rendering test with Brigade, set in the Urban Sprawl scene. 

    - 800x480 resolution 
    - 5 spp
    - 2x GTX 580
    - because there is very little noise, blurring (frame averaging) is turned off

    UPDATE: A reader of this blog sent me a highly detailed mesh of a procedural mountain landscape (500k traingles), created with World Machine, which rendered extremely fast with Brigade. The image below took less than half a second to render (the lighting isn't great, but that's not the point of this test :)

    UPDATE 2: some pictures of  an upcoming demo (idea by Jeroen van Schijndel):
    the refraction index of the window glass is probably too much, should be tweaked

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  • 07/04/12--18:18: Change of jobs...
  • I'm incredibly proud to announce that, starting today, I'm officially part of the Octane Render team at OTOY New Zealand (formerly Refractive Software).

    You can check out the official announcement on the Octane Render forum here: 

    I've been following Octane Render (the fastest unbiased GPU renderer in the world) since the day it was announced in January 2010 (see and have always believed that it had an extremely bright future because it was essentially the closest thing to my dream of real-time cinema-quality graphics. 

    The recently released plug-ins for Max and Maya combined with some recent breakthroughs on the workflow front will allow for some extremely cool and unseen stuff. Can't wait to get my hands dirty on it. 

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  • 07/12/12--23:49: Brigade at Siggraph 2012
  • Brigade will be presented in the Real-Time Live! session at this year's Siggraph:

    Other noteworthy game engines on display are Uncharted 3, the Luminous engine and Unreal Engine 4, so we're up there with the creme de la creme of the game industry :D

    Be there or you will regret it forever.

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    OTOY NZ just released a preview build of Octane Render which supports instancing and real-time path traced dynamic geometry, check it out (1080p video):

    More info here:

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    It took some time, but the paper co-authored by Lehtinen, Aila, Laine and Durand is finally out. I've been looking forward to this paper for a few months and it surely doesn't disappoint:

    Aila and Laine (Nvidia research) are both geniuses when it comes to GPU path tracing, image reconstruction, SVO and GI in general and their papers are guaranteed to contain exciting (and reproducible) results. The paper includes some interesting comparisons between the new algorithm, the a-trous wavelet filter and random parameter filtering. Good stuff!

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    This is a major breakthrough in rendering: the last version of Octane Render can now render complex animatable objects completely in real-time with path tracing. This has never been done before and is a game changer for animation previsualisation.

    Real-time ray tracing of scenes with highly detailed dynamic objects has always been considered as a near impossible feat and has held ray tracing back as a rendering method for interactive applications such as games. Until now: we have adapted Octane in such a way that it can handle dynamic scenes effortlessly and in real-time without compromising the ultrafast GPU path tracing performance.

    The following video was made with the Octane plug-in for 3ds Max and demonstrates that the acceleration structure of the animated robot can be updated instantly while rendering an instant preview of the lighting. The transformer in the animation was used before in a demo that I've made with Brigade some time ago ( and I always wanted to see it animated and rendered in real-time with path tracing, which can now be done with Octane and will be shown in another video :

    This is the final render, with motion blur using subframes in 3ds Max:

    Some screens from an early render:

    UPDATE: a video of the same animation with materials

    Another video, showing a real-time deforming hand, rendered with real-time path tracing:

    And a real-time rendered motion captured animation:

    You'll be able to follow the progress of Octane Render and all of our tests on a dedicated blog soon (this post will also be moved to the new blog).

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    Real-time path tracing is back. I haven't posted Brigade updates for a while, but development has never been stronger. This post is for the unhappy few who weren't able to attend Siggraph this year and couldn't witness our face-meltingly awesome Brigade demo with their own eyes. For your convenience, I have captured a video and a few screens of the Brigade demo, which you can see below.

    Brigade's path tracing performance has gotten an enormous boost once again (thanks to the awesome work of Jeroen van Schijndel and Jacco Bikker), this time specifically for dynamic stuff. The demo shows a real-time dynamic water mesh, a skinned game character (from the IGAD student game 'It's about time') and an exploding horse. Since Siggraph the performance for dynamic scenes has almost tripled again.

    What you see in the video is not exactly what was shown at Siggraph. The actual Siggraph demo was rendered with real-time path tracing at 1280x720 resolution at 60 fps and was running in OTOY's cloud with post processing. (My local system is not capable of video capturing and rendering with Brigade at 720p, so I had to turn down the resolution to get an acceptable framerate, the video is also using pretty ancient Brigade code, without the dynamic optimizations).

    Without further ado, here's some screenshots and a video of the future of real-time graphics. Enjoy!


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    Some real-time rendered physics experiments I did with Octane Render (the ultrafast unbiased GPU renderer) and MassFX in 3ds Max 2012. The instant ultrahigh quality feedback of Octane is extremely enjoyable for this kind of experiments, it can update thousands of objects in real-time and render them in full photorealistic detail using path tracing. It feels like editing a prerendered animation in real-time, it just utterly amazes me that this is possible today.

    Enjoy these videos:

     (the banding on the sky in the video is a compression artefact from my capturing software, the actual image doesn't suffer from it)


    By the way, there is now a dedicated blog for Octane Render with incredible stuff, check it out here:

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    As a follow-up to the previous post, here's another real-time rendered test with the Octane for 3ds Max plug-in, using MassFX and Voronoi shatter. Thanks to the extremely high rendering speed of Octane, users can now edit every aspect of a movie in final photorealistic quality in real-time: lighting, materials and most importantly geometry. This is the ultimate dream of every CG artist. From here, it's not that hard to imagine this technology being used in a real game...

    The following video and screenshots were rendered on one GTX 590. Note the rendertimes and resolutions of the Octane viewports:


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    This post is for the long time followers of this blog: one year ago, I've created a real-time path traced racing/physics game called "Unbiased Stunt Racer" (see The game could run in real-time with path tracing because it only used spheres and boxes as primitives (about 50 primitives in total). Here's a screenshot:

    Now, one year later, we can path trace dynamic scenes containing millions of triangles in real-time with Brigade, so the progress we made was not that bad. As a proof-of-concept, we've created a small racing game featuring a tiny race car, complete with physics. Thanks to some further optimizations, Brigade is now rapidly approaching a point where it can instantaneously render noise-free photorealistic images. The video below isn't even using the latest code (which has massively improved support for dynamic scenes) yet. The photorealism you can get out of Brigade nowadays is unrivaled and unique in the world of game engines. The potential of this tech is endless: for example, the automotive industry can render a photoreal and interactive car commercial in real-time or allow their customers to virtually drive around in a photoreal 3D city with the car of their dreams reflected in the display windows... 


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    Excellent news everybody! Hayssam Keilany, creator of iCEnhancer and best known for his photorealistic GTA IV mod, has joined our ever growing OTOY team in New Zealand to apply his lighting magic on the Brigade engine and Octane Render, the only renderers capable of real-time path tracing of dynamic scenes. With iCELaGlacE on board, we will bring Octane and Brigade to a whole new level, completely blurring the line between real and virtual scenes. I'm confident to say that within one year, we will have 100% movie quality animations and games running in real-time in the cloud. Fun times ahead!
    iCEnhancer facebook page:

    Shot from GTA IV with iCEnhancer:


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    These are the first tasty screenshots made by iCELaGlacE (Hayssam Keilany) using the iCEnhanced version of OTOY's Brigade real-time path tracing engine (the beautifully detailed interior scene was created by Enrico Cerica and contains over 1 million triangles):

    The aim is to make a game with this scene, some of the gameplay ideas include a small toy car or plane that you can navigate through the scene or an action packed Heavy Rain like game. Or even some physics cubes destroying the scene similar to this photoreal animation (rendered with Octane):  

    Follow the iCEnhancer Facebook page for more shots:

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    Another set of stunning screenshots made by iCELaGlace using OTOY's Brigade engine. The scene is Stonemason's Backstreets. Seeing this stuff running in real-time is utterly amazing. We have a dynamic character in there as well, but that's something for another post :) 


    More to follow soon...

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    A few more amazing shots of Brigade, made by iCE La GlacE (see

    With some of the optimizations that we're working on right now, the real-time path tracing technology provided by Brigade will make this kind of realism a reality in games very soon. We're on the cusp of having truly photorealistic, cinema quality games! 

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    This is an awesome video showcasing the extreme speed at which Octane Render is able to produce photorealistic images with path tracing (and it's also a nice introduction to Octane). Coffeemills will never be the same after you've seen this:

    And this one shows off the powerful material system in Octane, and it's all rendered at full photorealistic quality in real-time:


    A short real-time test in Stonemason's Backstreets:

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  • 11/12/12--00:40: Caustics
  • Made by icelaglace

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  • 12/04/12--20:55: Unbiased Dragon Fiesta
  • It's been a long time since I posted a video about Brigade (blame Octane Render, which is so fucking awesome and addictive it's not even funny anymore, check for example this video: But the latest addition on Brigade definitely deserves a new video: we now have instancing working, it's really useful (best part of the video at the end):

    What you see here are 32x32 (1024) Stanford dragons, each containing 100k triangles for a total of more than 100 million triangles, all path traced in real-time. This number is actually quite modest, as we can easily scale up to billions of triangles and still be real-time. This is impossible to achieve with a rasterization based game engine. I'm convinced that instancing will be the decisive factor for game engines to switch to ray tracing and is actually going to be more important than having perfect shadows, reflections, refractions, indirect lighting, diffuse color bleeding, physically based materials, raytraced ambient occlusion and DOF.

    The next step is to make practical use of this feature in a game like setting: I want to use the city scene from one of my earlier demos (see and stuff it with instanced trees, cars and people, a bit like a real-time path traced GTA. It's doable.

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    Found some time to do another quick instancing test with OTOY's Brigade engine:

    - 1024 dynamic instances of a car (materials can be customized per instance, not shown yet)
    - car model contains about 23k triangles
    - 400k triangle city scene (can be instanced tens of times without performance loss)

    It's now also possible to have a complete city with hundreds of instanced city blocks containing thousands of (instanced) animated characters and cars, essentially a real-time path traced photorealistic GTA. It's mighty impressive. But that's for another video :)

    UPDATE: Yes! Ich bin mit diesen Demo auf die grossen Deutschen website PC Games Hardware erschenen, das ist ja ganz toll! :D :


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    Just needed to share these jaw dropping images made by icelaglace using Octane Render, they are too good to be true:

    - ultra-detailed 17 million triangle human head mesh captured with OTOY's LightStage 
    - rendered with path tracing using physically based (unbiased) subsurface scattering 
    - HDRI environment map lighting
    - 2048x1024 resolution
    - completely noiseless after 8 seconds with just one GTX 680 using Octane Render v1.01 (which features environment map importance sampling)

    And this is a 8192x4096 render (blogspot resized the image unfortunately). Note that all the detail is pure geometry, and is not coming from the  normal maps

    Another one:

    More screens here:

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    Another quick test with OTOY's Brigade engine showing 1024 physics driven Stanford dragons. Brigade has an extremely efficient way of handling dynamic instances and can now effortlessly render billions of (rigid) dynamic triangles in real-time. 

    All the recent instancing tests are not merely tests, but are part of a bigger project. More about that soon. In the meantime, enjoy the screenshots:

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