Friday, April 5th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Chaos unveils Project Arena

Chaos has announced Project Arena, an upcoming toolset that provides a “faster, simple alternative to game engines for virtual production”.

The technology is intended to enable studios using Chaos’s V-Ray renderer for offline rendering to display the same assets on LED walls with full ray tracing, “without any preprocessing”.

Re-use assets created for offline renedering in V-Ray in real time on a LED wall
Project Arena is intended to enable studios to render assets created in the DCC applications that V-Ray supports, including Maya, Houdini and 3ds Max, for display in real time on a LED wall, creating a virtual backdrop for previs or in-camera VFX.

The system is based on the underlying technology from Chaos Vantage, Chaos’s real-time ray tracing renderer for exploring large V-Ray scenes, and runs on “off-the-shelf NVIDIA hardware”.

In tests, it has been possible to have “quarter of a trillion polygons running at 60fps on a single GPU”, although we aren’t sure at what level of visual quality: Chaos says that it “hopes to improve [the output] with the addition of more shader types”.

A simpler, more streamlined alternative to workflows based around Unreal Engine?
As with Chaos Vantage itself, Project Arena is Chaos’s attempt to break into a part of the industry in which Unreal Engine has done a lot of the early running.

Epic Games’ game engine is widely used in virtual production, and is currently free for non-games work, although Epic has announced that it will introduce subscription pricing this month.

Chaos’s pitch for Project Arena is similar to that for Vantage: that users will be able to use their existing V-Ray assets in it, without the kind of time-consuming conversion process required to prepare offline assets for rendering in a game engine.

According to Chaos, Project Arena “eliminate[s] the need for scene stripping, asset conversion, or baking”, making it possible to move V-Ray animations to LED walls in “around 10 minutes”.

The workflow will also make it possible for studios to use the same assets in pre- and post-production “with no do-overs or drops in quality”.

Price, system requirements and release date
Project Arena is still in initial testing. Studios interested in trying it on their own LED stage can register their interest via the webpage linked below.

Chaos hasn’t announced a commercial release date or pricing yet.

Read more about Project Arena on Chaos’s website

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