This is the final blog in our ray-tracing series. If you've not read the previous ones yet, head to our tech blogs and take a look.
In the first three blogs, we outlined our ray-tracing journey, covering everything from sparse voxel reflections and hybrid ray tracing to hardware-accelerated techniques. In this blog, it's time for the big announcement: we've launched the world's first cloud-streamed ray-traced solution with our new client Lucid!
The deployment of a project containing real-time, cloud-streamed ray tracing is a huge leap forward for the entire visualisation industry. This technology is no longer constrained by hardware: we can now deliver it to any user using any device anywhere in the world.
The transition from developing a real-time solution that performs on high-end workstations to a flexible cloud-based solution that delivers content dynamically to thousands of users was significant. It was only possible because we could build upon the cloud architecture we had already developed for our cloud-based online configurators, which are in use around the world by brands including BRP, Lamborghini, and Audi. The major change was a new type of AWS cloud instance - the G4 - that featured an NVIDIA T4 GPU.
While the T4 GPU is a big advancement in cloud computing, it actually only has about 60% of the rendering resources of the RTX 6000 GPUs that we used in our locally rendered ray-tracing projects. Luckily for us, our previous focus on ray-tracing optimisation means we can maximise performance on lower powered RTX GPUs. Using VRS technology on the cloud stream helps the solution maintain its near-perfect antialiasing without having to cast more rays than necessary to have real-time ray-traced reflections and pixel-perfect ray-traced shadows.
In this project, Lucid was looking to build a purchase journey for its new flagship EV the Lucid Air that was as technologically advanced as the car itself. So, ZeroLight created a powerful cloud-rendered configurator solution for Lucid's website, which enables visitors to explore and customise the car in incredible detail. Because this solution is streamed from the cloud, we were able to use the new G4 instances to deliver real-time ray-tracing.
The Lucid Air was the perfect model to show off the extra details that ray tracing brings to real-time rendering. This is because a significant proportion of the vehicle is glass, so you can see the stunning effects in the reflections of the interior as the fine details we take for granted in offline renders are now visible in real time on any device.
For the first time ever, you can now visit a webpage and explore a real-time ray-traced experience without the requirement for your local hardware to do anything more than decode a video stream. It is as demanding on as the device as watching a video on YouTube.