Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Video: Pixar’s new GPU-based lighting workflow

Nvidia has posted a nice video showing Pixar’s GPU-based lighting workflow from Monsters University.

The footage, taken from a presentation by Pixar TD Jean-Daniel Nahmias at Siggraph earlier this year, shows real production assets from the movie being navigated in near-real time.

From fake indirect illumination to fast, physically accurate preview
For Monsters University and accompanying short The Blue Umbrella, the studio adopted an interactive lighting preview built around Nvidia’s OptiX programmable raytracing framework for CUDA-based GPUs.

Whereas previews movies like Toy Story 3 required “hundreds of lights” to fake indirect illumination, the system achieves the same result more simply, in near real-time.

The really cool part starts at around 1:50 in the video, where Nahmias navigates an actual production environment from the movie. Check out the difference between the standard OpenGL view and the Optix preview.

Read the PDF from Nvidia’s OptiX presentation at Siggraph
(More technical details; not just Pixar)