PowerVR Ray Tracing
PowerVR Ray Tracing is a revolutionary technology that brings lightning fast ray tracing to the world’s leading mobile GPU. This game-changing feature enables astonishing realism as well as allowing developers and content creators to simplify their workflow.
PowerVR Wizard GPUs
The PowerVR Wizard family of GPUs delivers a highly optimized and ultra-efficient implementation of the PowerVR Ray Tracing technology. PowerVR Wizard graphics IP processors enable more immersive games and apps with real-life dynamic lighting models that produce advanced lighting effects, dynamic soft shadows, and life-like reflections and transparencies, previously unachievable in a mobile form factor.
PowerVR Wizard Ray Tracing GPU IP processors are highly scalable, making them disruptive to many markets from mobile to high-end.
PowerVR Wizard GPUs are ray tracing-enabled versions of PowerVR Series6XT Rogue graphics IP processors, adding significant new features to the pipeline to enable accurate real time modelling of fully dynamic lights and shadows.
Everything developers know and love about the PowerVR Rogue architecture is present in Wizard GPUs, enabling them to start to use ray tracing without extensive new learning.
Through the advanced architecture of PowerVR Wizard, multiple ray tracing engines and shaders operate concurrently to ensure real world sustained performance for both ray tracing and shading.
All Wizard ray tracing GPUs are designed to provide leading support for a range of APIs such as OpenGL ES 3.x, OpenGL 3.x, Direct3D 11 Level 10_0, and OpenCL 1.x.
Use cases for ray tracing
The main use for PowerVR Ray Tracing in rendering is to accurately simulate the transport of light. In 3D graphics, rendering a surface means looking at how much of a scene is visible to the camera. The physics of light dictate that the properties of a surface are not enough for a correct and realistic renderer; one needs to know the properties of the entire scene.
Ray tracing is a powerful tool that offers an innate understanding of light. Therefore, some effects are more efficiently computed with ray tracing than using state of the art raster techniques.
The examples below highlight some of the most common use cases for ray tracing.
The most common use case for ray tracing today is to support pre-baked lighting in the form of lightmaps or light probes. Leveraging PowerVR Ray Tracing enables light maps to be baked in near real-time.
Unity 5 is the first development platform to ship with in-editor real-time lightmap previews based on PowerVR Ray Tracing technology. This allows for near instantaneous feedback for changes to global illumination lightmaps by displaying an accurate preview in the editor’s scene view of how lighting will look in the final game.
With this technology, artists can continue to iterate and refine the look of a level while final lightmaps update and bake in the background, dramatically decreasing the amount of time needed to make artistic adjustments to scenes.
Furthermore, it is possible to create a hybrid rendering system where an incremental scanline algorithm is used for visibility determination but ray tracing can be selectively added in order to implement specific effects.
This method benefits from the fact that only visible pixels will cast rays but it also means that the developer has the choice of casting rays only for selected objects and can therefore easily control how effects are used and where the ray budget is spent. It can also be very easily fitted into existing game engine runtimes so that workflow remains the same and investment in all existing game assets is preserved.