VANCOUVER — At SIGGRAPH 2018, Chaos Group (chaosgroup.com) gave the world its first look at Project Lavina, a new technology designed for photorealistic realtime ray tracing – what is often considered ‘the Holy Grail of computer graphics.’ By leveraging the dedicated RT Core within Nvidia’s Turing-based Quadro RTX GPUs, Project Lavina fundamentally changes the direction of computer graphics, introducing a new level of visual quality for realtime games, VR and 3D visualization.
Project Lavina, named after the Bulgarian word for “avalanche,” debuted as a SIGGRAPH tech demo, depicting a massive 3D forest and several architectural visualizations running at 24 to 30 frames per second (FPS) in standard HD resolution. Rather than using game engine shortcuts, like rasterized graphics and a reduced level of detail, each scene features live ray tracing for truly interactive photorealism. Lavina is able to handle massive scenes at realtime speeds – over 300 billion triangles in one case – without any loss in detail.
“We’ve been developing ray tracing technology for 20 years, and this is one of the biggest breakthroughs we’ve ever made,” says Vlado Koylazov, co-founder and CTO at Chaos Group. “Realtime and ray tracing coming together is the beginning of something big.”
"We are thrilled to see how well Project Lavina takes advantage of the RTX stack debuting on our new Quadro RTX line," adds Bob Pette, vice president of professional graphics, Nvidia. "True realtime ray tracing is our goal with RTX, and it’s great to see a market leader like Chaos Group achieve it with us."
The SIGGRAPH tech demo uses 3D scenes exported from V-Ray-enabled applications directly in Lavina. Unlike a traditional game engine, which requires assets to be rebuilt and specially optimized, Lavina dramatically simplifies this process with direct compatibility and translation of V-Ray assets. Upon loading the scene, the user can explore the environment exactly as they would in a game engine, and experience physically accurate lighting, reflections and global illumination.
This is Chaos Group’s second realtime announcement in the last year, following the beta release of V-Ray for Unreal. Seeing a growing demand for realtime applications, Chaos Group has developed a way to tie ray tracing to both kinds of workflows, upping the fidelity of this emerging medium. Soon, users will be able to apply the most realistic style of rendering to every type of interactive project, including 3D configurators, virtual productions and VR, using the toolset they like best.
“This breakthrough was made possible by partnering with Nvidia, whose Quadro RTX GPUs helped unlock the next level of realtime experiences,” says Peter Mitev, CEO of Chaos Group. “From here, Project Lavina’s mission will be to focus on pushing the quality and speed of realtime ray tracing.”