Nvidia DesignWorks: interactive photorealism for mainstream designers

Visual computing technology and Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) company Nvidia is aiming to bring the power of interactive photorealism to mainstream designers


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Nvidia DesignWorks is a new set of software tools, libraries and technologies for the developers behind the software that designers use to create the products we use, the buildings we live in and the planes, trains and automobiles that keep us on the move.

The big idea of DesignWorks is to give application developers a way to take advantage of  work in both physically based rendering (PBR) and physically based materials – cornerstones of visualising a design interactively with photo-real results.

PBR isn’t new

It’s been used for movies and games where the requirement is for a scene or model to look good, but where accuracy is less important than achieving the desired look.

“Contrast that with the requirements of an architect who might need to understand how sunlight will reflect off exterior windows or whether the lighting in a parking structure is sufficient for safety. Or a motorcycle designer who wants to understand if a particular kind of metallic paint will be attractive. To them, accuracy is of paramount importance. They need applications that let them see and interact with accurate visualisations of what their final product will be,” said Nvidia senior product manager Ankit Patel.

The firm says that users will want to be able to visualise their designs the way that makes sense for their business.

That might be at their desktop, on large multi-display walls, using virtual reality or even from a remote location.

These capabilities and more all come together in DesignWorks, with some two dozen tools that include rendering, materials, display etc.

Iray SDK – a calibrated, physically based rendering and light simulation framework, which now includes new algorithms that cut the time to visualize design changes.

Material Definition Language (MDL) – a technology to create and share digital models of real-world materials between applications. MDL will also be available soon as a software development kit, providing a simple way for developers to access the growing MDL ecosystem.

vMaterials – a collection of calibrated and verified materials for use in MDL-based applications.

 OptiX, a framework for building ray tracing applications. OptiX now includes support for the NVIDIA Visual Computing Appliance, providing scalable performance from laptops to data centers.

DesignWorks VR – a suite of tools for incorporating virtual reality into design software.

About Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development and data analytics as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management.   Adrian is a regular writer and blogger with Computer Weekly, Forbes, The Register and others. His journalistic creed is to bring forward-thinking, impartial, technology editorial to a professional (and hobbyist) technology audience around the world. His mission is to objectively inform, educate and challenge.
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