DCC: Get Real

NVIDIA Quadro FX enables interactive digital content creation through hardware rendering.

As audiences' appetites for realism in film, high-definition television, and games continue to grow--and deadlines to create digital content continue to shrink--the need for tools that enable artists to create cutting-edge visuals, without compromising their schedules, is on the rise.

NVIDIA and its DCC software partners are providing artists with such tools. NVIDIA Quadro FX workstation graphics solutions combine the industry's first true 128-bit floating point precision with an eight-pipeline, fully programmable graphics engine to deliver unprecedented levels of realism and sophisticated real-time effects for content developers in the film, broadcast, games, and entertainment markets.

"The content creation cycle has traditionally been a serial, iterative process, from concept to modeling to final rendered imagery," said Sheri Nimtz, DCC marketing manager at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA Quadro FX makes production rendering an integral part of real-time content creation, enabling artists to produce high-quality images within the constraints of increasingly tight deadlines."
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Real-Time Rendering

The extensive programmability of the NVIDIA Quadro FX is exposed through Cg, a high-level, C-like programming language developed by NVIDIA. Already incorporated into the leading DCC tools including Alias|Wavefront Maya, Discreet 3ds max, and Softimage|XSI, Cg enables artists, for the first time, to interactively modify the appearance of the models they create. Want to alter the sheen of a character's skin from oily to dry? Simply adjust some sliders and the change is calculated and rendered in real time. The same capability holds true for adding shadows, reflections, refractions, and other properties that allow artists to work interactively.

Digital Content Creation

"With NVIDIA Quadro FX, artists don't have to render their images to see the final results of a change," said Shai Hinitz, product manager at Alias|Wavefront. "Instead, interactive shaders for realistic effects can be applied during the production process, resulting in better and faster digital content creation."

Cg provides additional benefits to DCC users. Cg takes advantage of programmable GPUs that support DirectX and OpenGL, so artists can easily repurpose their effects for multiple platforms, including game consoles, Windows-based and Linux-based PCs, and Mac OS X systems.

"Softimage has a long history of introducing tools that increase both creativity and productivity in the 3D industry," states Marc Stevens, director of research and development at Softimage. "We have continued this tradition by being the first to ship products that take advantage of the Cg shader language via the NVIDIA Quadro FX graphics card. With this unique functionality, developers using the SOFTIMAGE|XSI nonlinear 3D production environment with NVIDIA Quadro FX will no longer be required to transfer their work to preview images on the target platform. Instead, they can develop Cg shader code directly within SOFTIMAGE|XSI to see exactly how their work will look on the target console, resulting in a more streamlined workflow and a dramatic reduction in development time. What's more, artists will also be able to use shader presets to perfect their imagery in SOFTIMAGE|XSI without compromising production schedules."

With these powerful features, NVIDIA Quadro FX is fast becoming the must-have tool in every digital content creator's toolbox. "We're bringing tremendous value and time savings to 3ds max users with this important step in the drive toward real-time cinematic rendering," said Jeff Yates, director of 3D software development at Discreet. "Artists no longer have to wait to see what their exported content looks like in a final game or application environment."

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