Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Videos: Nvidia’s multi-physics, volumetrics and GI tools

Nvidia showed off some interesting developments in real-time simulation at its Montreal press event last week, several of which have now made their way onto YouTube in the form of audience recordings of the presentations.

The picture and audio quality are what you’d expect from impromptu handheld footage, but the content itself is impressive: notably FLEX, the unified simulation framework due to be introduced into PhysX next year.

Unified simulations via FLEX
The video above shows FLEX in action in a variety of situations, including semi-rigid bodies, coupled fluid and rigid-body simulations, and fluid simulations interacting with cloth.

There are a few nits to be picked – the ‘water’ in the demos sometimes looks a bit viscous, and the soft-body frog seems not to be preserving volume as it is shaken around – but they’re fairly minor issues.

The range of interactions possible is noteworthy, and the final demo, of multiple rigid objects floating and colliding inside a fluid simulation is particularly striking.

Nvidia also showed off Flame Works (above), intended to create “film-quality” volumetric effects. That’s probably a bit of an overstatment, but it certainly looks a viable alternative to particle-based FX in real-time work.

Part of VisualFX – the set of Nvidia SDKs that includes the existing WaterWorks and FaceWorks technologies – Flame Works uses a multi-grid solver, and supports stochastic shadows and scattering.

Real-time rendering technologies were also on show. The video above kicks off with a look at Nvidia’s existing OptiX raytracing framework, adopted by Pixar in its GPU-based real-time relighting pipeline.

But at 08:35, you can also see a new addition to the VisualFX SDKs. GI Works is a scalable architecture for real-time global illumination, supporting colour bleeding, specular effects and emissive materials.

All three new technologies form part of Nvidia’s developer outreach program, formerly known as The Way It’s Meant To Be Played, but now rebranded as the slightly less tongue-twisting GameWorks.

Read more announcements from the Montreal event on Nvidia’s blog