Computers have always been known to render simple 2D replicas like lines, images and polygons in real time. But with the growth of computer graphics, 3D visualization and animation rendering became a time consuming process. Due to the complexity of such images, it demands greater computing power for quality output and hence the rendering process becomes longer than usual. However, with the advancement in technology, real time 3D rendering is no more an alien phenomenon. The scope of real time rendering enables to replicate images on a computer fast enough so that a viewer can interact with the concurrent digital environment.
Real time rendering has been in use for a long time in video and computer games. Understandably, games involve high level of interactivity. The landscape, properties, characters and all have to continuously change according to user movements and you just cannot predict how will a user move. With real time rendering, frames will be loaded spontaneously to generate images that simulate the real movement. This, in turn helps game developers to create interactive worlds. For the rendering to be real time, the frame rate has to be minimum 15 frames per second. When a user plays a three dimensional game, he should get an impact that his character is moving through an environment or is performing some swift action. In reality, the movements are not swift but the game is rendering images so quickly that it appears fluid, just like in the case of animation. Pre rendering is also used commonly in games where some visuals are pre recorded footage which was rendered on a different equipment. But, with the development in dedicated graphics hardwares, real time rendering in games have improved drastically over time.
This realm of real time rendering is slowly expanding from games to other sectors as well. One of the finest examples in this regard is the video ‘Unreal Paris’, a virtual demo tour created by Benoit Dureau using real time ‘Unreal Engine 4’. This project was completed across a time span of seven weeks and various tests and research were conducted to analyse the behaviour of Unreal Engine 4. Special attention was given to the calculation of light and material management. The project became a wide sensation and it is considered to be one of the best ambassadors of the future of architectural visualization. Designers and architects are already making good use of architectural visualization through applications such as Eon LumenRT. Its dynamic visualization engine helps architects and designers to clearly envision their designs in real time. Furthermore, physical effects such as sunlight, shadows and reflections can also be smoothly added and results generated real time. Unlike game providers, LumenRT performs all its rendering while in its motion and it is editable at all times. However, certain realistic lightings can take longer rendering time.
Imagine determining how your home will be in summer and winter even before it starts construction! Similarly, you can also get in depth understanding about the availability of water, neighborhood, traffic, vegetation etc and just like an apartment even an entire cityscape can be recreated. The same way, enterprises can visualize their products and determine how will their products function at various market periods even before they begin manufacturing! Teachers and professors can easily recreate any educational content real time and help students enhance their learning process. With real time rendering, 3D visualization and simulation is in for a total revolution!
Real time 3D rendering will also significantly benefit the motion picture industry as it helps to speed up the process of pre-visualization. Computer graphics, animation and visual effects have revolutionized the way films are made and every year we witness a wide variety of exciting visual content. Such complex scenes are impossible to film without the help of pre-visualization. Since most of such filming happen in front of blue or green screens, having a clear model of the final product will effectively coordinate cinematographers, editors, actors, visual effects supervisors and so on. With real time rendering, pre-visualization and thus pre-production also happens swiftly and this is an enormous time saver. Besides films, this also helps other media and entertainment platforms like Television and Advertising studios.
Epic’s ‘Unreal Engine’ is now also used along with RenderDigiMania, a standalone app that renders the animation in Maya or Max. Once you export your meshes to RenderDigiMania, you can sort your assets, add materials and also configure the lighting with spontaneous and exact feedback. The application also allows you to output a variety of render passes and it is also capable of 4K output. Another application that is expanding its potential is ‘Element 3D’, which is a plugin from Video Copilot. Depending on the complexity of scene and effects, ‘Element 3D’ provides real time preview and also provides almost near real time rendering. The striking feature of this is that it provides a simple way to add 3D elements to 2D composite and you don’t have to be an expert in 3D modeling or rendering. With latest versions, they have also introduced several improved techniques such as real time shadows and physical shaders.
Every complexity of the past has been quite easily simplified by the rapid growth of technology. Every visual presentation today is moving towards 3D interactivity and this is an intricate process. However, with the kind of efforts already in progress, real time rendering might just be a common requisite in the nearby future!