The NVIDIA RTX platform fuses ray tracing, deep learning and rasterization to fundamentally transform the creative process for content creators and developers through the NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture and support for industry leading tools and APIs.
Applications built on the RTX platform bring the power of real-time photorealistic rendering and AI-enhanced graphics, video and image processing, to enable millions of designers and artists to create amazing content in a completely new way.
The RTX platform provides software APIs and SDKs running on advanced hardware to provide solutions capable of accelerating and enhancing graphics, photos, imaging and video processing. These include:
- Ray Tracing (OptiX, Microsoft DXR, Vulkan)
- AI-Accelerated Features (NGX)
- Rasterization (Advanced Shaders)
- Simulation (CUDA 10, PhysX, Flex)
- Asset Interchange Formats (USD, MDL)
Ray tracing, which has long been used for non-real-time rendering, provides realistic lighting by simulating the physical behavior of light. Ray tracing calculates the color of pixels by tracing the path that light would take if it were to travel from the eye of the viewer through the virtual 3D scene. As it traverses the scene, the light may reflect from one object to another (causing reflections), be blocked by objects (causing shadows), or pass through transparent or semi-transparent objects (causing refractions). All of these interactions are combined to produce the final color of a pixel that then displayed on the screen.
RTX-capable GPUs include dedicated ray tracing acceleration hardware, use an advanced acceleration structure and implement an entirely new GPU rendering pipeline to enable real-time ray tracing in games and other graphics applications. Ray tracing acceleration is leveraged by developers through NVIDIA OptiX, Microsoft DXR enhanced with NVIDIA ray tracing libraries, and the upcoming Vulkan ray tracing API.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The NVIDIA NGX SDK is a new deep learning powered technology stack bringing AI-based features that accelerate and enhance graphics, photos imaging and video processing directly into applications. NVIDIA NGX features utilize Tensor Cores to maximize the efficiency of their operation, and require an RTX-capable GPU. NGX makes it easy for developers to integrate AI features into their application with pre-trained networks.
The Turing architecture’s new Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) includes advanced shading technologies, as well as new features designed to accelerate the graphics pipeline.
Mesh shading advances NVIDIA’s geometry processing architecture by offering a new shader model for the vertex, tessellation, and geometry shading stages of the graphics pipeline, supporting more flexible and efficient approaches for computation of geometry. This more flexible model makes it possible, for example, to support an order of magnitude more objects per scene, by moving the key performance bottleneck of object list processing off of the CPU and into highly parallel GPU mesh shading programs. Mesh shading also enables new algorithms for advanced geometric synthesis and object LOD management.
Variable Rate Shading (VRS)
VRS allows developers to control shading rate dynamically, shading as little as once per sixteen pixels or as often as eight times per pixel. The application specifies shading rate using a combination of a shading-rate surface and a per-primitive (triangle) value. VRS is a very powerful tool that allows developers to shade more efficiently, reducing work in regions of the screen where full resolution shading would not give any visible image quality benefit, and therefore improving frame rate. Several classes of VRS-based algorithms have already been identified, which can vary shading work based on content level of detail (Content Adaptive Shading), rate of content motion (Motion Adaptive Shading), and for VR applications, lens resolution and eye position (Foveated Rendering).
With texture-space shading, objects are shaded in a private coordinate space (a texture space) that is saved to memory, and pixel shaders sample from that space rather than evaluating results directly. With the ability to cache shading results in memory and reuse/resample them, developers can eliminate duplicate shading work or use different sampling approaches that improve quality.
Multi-View Rendering (MVR)
MVR powerfully extends Pascal’s Single Pass Stereo (SPS). While SPS allowed rendering of two views that were common except for an X offset, MVR allows rendering of multiple views in a single pass even if the views are based on totally different origin positions or view directions. Access is via a simple programming model in which the compiler automatically factors out view independent code, while identifying view-dependent attributes for optimal execution.
Lifelike visuals result when something both looks and behaves as it would in reality. With more than a decade of development in physics simulation, the RTX platform features APIs such as NVIDIA’s PhysX, FleX and CUDA 10, to accurately model how objects interact in the real world in games, virtual environments, and special effects.
With the growing complexity of pipelines and application workflows, standard file formats significantly help creators and developers achieve better asset interchange between applications. In modern pipelines, digital assets like geometry, materials, and shader definitions all need to transfer across applications while maintaining fidelity.
The RTX Platform supports industry standards for the asset interchange, namely Universal Scene Description (USD) from Pixar and the open-source NVIDIA Material Definition Language (MDL). USD is widely used in the entertainment industry and provides a rich toolset for reading, writing, editing, and rapidly previewing 3D geometry and shading. NVIDIA MDL is adopted by many applications including Adobe, Allegorithmic and Epic’s Unreal Studio. MDL allows developers to build a library of materials once and be confident the materials maintain their appearance across all applications in the workflow.