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Here's a link to a great article that shows how Real Time Ray Tracing is starting to enter the market. It's getting closer with graphic card designers looking to make it happen in an "affordable" way.
For those interested in exploring CA Ray Tracing Techniques.
From the CA sample gallery I downloaded the "Zero Sum Kitchen" plan. Other than reducing the width and height to 1200 X 618 I ran a Ray Trace as per CAs' settings. The scene took 1 hour and 54 minutes to reach a point were I could not detect any discernable graininess.
Here is the scene after 1 hour & 54 minutes, needed about 30 passes.
I reworked the lighting and altered some of the material properties. This ran in 1 minute & 44 seconds, only needed 5 passes.
Here it is at 4800 X 2472 if you wish to zoom in for closer examination. Took 28 minutes to run 6 passes.
The biggest problem with the CA plan are the point lights, in fact 18 of the 24 lights were points, even the ceiling recessed fixtures. They had Photon Mapping turned "ON" and even so the stainless steel rendered poorly. I changed all the lighting to spots and turned off the Photon Mapping, note that even with the Photon Mapping turned off the stainless steel rendered quite well, contrary to the common belief that one needs Photon Mapping turned on to render these metals.
That horrible orange colour cast has been eliminated, the scene now has an improved sense of depth, detail and colour balance. And it runs really fast.
I have one file that I cannot open any perspective camera Views in. All that comes up is a white screen with an error message (attached below) In all of my other plan files I am able to open camera views. No settings have been changed in this set of plans and the plan file is no bigger then my other plan sets. I have the most recent driver I can download. Anybody have any ideas?
I do a lot of ray tracing, and many times I will want to change one little thing when it gets all done. The settings I have now are what I want, what I need to know is what do I need to buy to make my ray traces lightning fast? Can it be done? Im talking 5 minute Ray traces with 10 or so passes!! With ambient occlusion, environmental light, photon mapping, computing caustics. Lets say money is no object because lets face it, time is money and I don't have the time to sit and babysit ray traces for 30-45 minutes a piece. Give me your dream Computer lineup, maybe an upgrade to what I have now? Hmm I'm not even sure if my specs are listed. I am no computer expert nor would I claim to know any more about computers than any 5 year old today, but I want to know (from people who know computers? or not) what's the best thing out there to run chief to its fullest potential.