Friday, September 22nd, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Chaos releases Vantage 2.1

Chaos has updated Vantage, its real-time ray tracing renderer, intended for exploring large V-Ray scenes for architectural visualization and VFX.

The software becomes the first DCC application to support DLSS 3.5, the latest version of NVIDIA’s AI-trained image-reconstruction technology, with its Ray Reconstruction denoising system improving the quality of viewport renders while navigating a scene.

Vantage 2.1 also adds experimental support for Intel Arc GPUs, and support for refraction glossiness, improving rendering of materials like frosted glass.

A hardware-accelerated ray tracer for exploring large production scenes in real time
First released in 2020, Vantage is a hardware-accelerated ray tracing renderer intended for exploring large V-Ray production scenes in near-real time.

Chaos’s pitch for using Vantage over other real-time rendering solutions – particularly Unreal Engine, which is free for this kind of work – is ease of use.

Rather than having to convert scenes created for offline renders for use in a game engine – still time-consuming, despite tools like Datasmith – Vantage can render the original .vrscene files.

It doesn’t support every feature of V-Ray – you can find a list of supported features for each V-Ray host application in the online documentation – but it’s intended to be a close visual match.

The initial release was targeted at visualization, but this year Chaos added support for rendering deforming meshes, like animated characters, and began pitching Vantage at VFX work.

Vantage 2.1: DLSS 3.5 support adds new AI denoising system Ray Reconstruction
Vantage 2.1 adds support for DLSS 3.5, the latest version of Deep Learning Super Sampling, NVIDIA’s AI-based image reconstruction technology.

DLSS began as an image upscaling system, enabling applications in which it was integrated to increase viewport interactivity by rendering each frame at a lower resolution, then upscaling the image to viewport dimensions, but now also supports frame generation, further increasing frame rates by generating intermediate frames.

To that, DLSS 3.5 adds Ray Reconstruction, a new AI-trained render denoising system intended to supersede traditional denoisers like NVIDIA’s own OptiX AI for “intensive ray-traced scenes”.

Although DLSS 3.5 is due to be integrated in architectural renderer D5 Render and NVIDIA’s own Omniverse, Chaos describes Vantage as the “first non-gaming application” to support it.

Ray Reconstruction makes panning the camera “smoother and faster” – in the video at the top of the story, the viewport render becomes much more stable when navigating the scene.

However, reflections become blurrier, so users can switch to one of the other denoisers supported in Vantage, including OptiX AI, to improve image quality when the camera is static.

DLSS Ray Reconstruction is available on compatible NVIDIA RTX GPUs: those from 2018’s GeForce RTX 20 series and newer.

Support for refraction glossiness and experimental support for Intel Arc GPUs
Other new features in Vantage 2.1 include support for refraction glossiness, improving the accuracy with which materials like frosted glass can be recreated.

The release also introduces experimental support for Intel Arc GPUs. The change makes Vantage compatible with discrete GPUs from all of the major manufacturers, Vantage 2.0 having added support for AMD cards.

Also new since Vantage 2.0: scene state animations and extra render settings
Since we last wrote about the software, Chaos has also added support for scene state animations, making it possible to animate smooth transitions between Vantage’s scene states.

The Vantage 2.01 update also added a multiplier setting for emissive materials, the option to clamp auto-exposure, and support for V-Ray’s Bercon Tile texture.

Price and system requirements
Chaos Vantage is compatible with Windows 10+ and DXR-compatible AMD, Intel or Nvidia GPUs.

The software is rental-only, with subscriptions costing $108.90/month or $658.80/year. It is included free with V-Ray Premium and Enterprise subscriptions.

Read an overview of the new features in Chaos Vantage 2.1 on Chaos’s blog

Read a full list of new features in Chaos Vantage 2.1 in the online documentation

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