Graphics have always been a point of contention between computer hardware enthusiasts and mainstream fans. One side will argue the need for it while the other would point out the focus on getting a product with a good price-to-performance ratio. A PC capable of pushing out decent-looking visuals is usually associated with video games, but there are computer-aided design or CAD software that take advantage of that power. You can have someone make a detailed model of your dream house before, which should help you decide if want to move forward with your plans for that. If what you see pleases you, that would be the time to ring up your mortgage lender and see what your options are in building a new home.
One aspect that makes graphics look realistic is through its lighting. Ray tracing is a technique that promises to give out more lifelike images by having a more complex implementation of how light bounces off of different surfaces. Some of the latest video cards in the market have this feature, which means that even the mainstream audience could have a taste of what it offers.
What Is Ray Tracing?
To understand what ray tracing is, it is better to compare it to an existing graphical technique called rasterization. This is a method where the polygonal graphics are converted into two-dimensional images, and it is widely used to create shadows and reflections. It does not take much processing power from the GPU, so you can still have the rendering done at a smooth rate. Ray tracing, on the other hand, renders graphics by tracing the path where the light source travels. It can bounce into many directions and hit other objects, and this makes it a process that is computationally-expensive. You need beefy hardware to handle it.
Ray tracing has been in use for a while now in Hollywood-grade animation productions, where studios can afford high-end workstations to do the rendering for them. It now has already trickled down to more consumer-oriented products. Expect video games to be the first examples of its mainstream implementation. For companies that use CAD software and are looking to upgrade their older systems, this would be a handsome proposition as consumer-grade parts are usually significantly cheaper. This will help them create more impressive renders of interior or exterior structure designs at a decent rate without breaking the bank.
At the moment, there is a significant hit in performance when you turn on ray tracing for some video games. The future would have vastly-improved performance and more games support. It will also no longer be limited to PC users, as the technology will be introduced in the next generation of consoles. In other programs, expect improved CAD or 3D-modelling software implementation and hopefully faster rendering times for them.
Ray tracing is here to stay. It may still be in its infancy in the mainstream space, but it is fast gathering steam. The breakthrough might come when the new video game consoles come out, and that will spell more developer support for it. You really need the help of the consumer if you want to get innovative products off the ground.