Nvidia and Weta Digital have developed an advanced ray-tracing system that is capable of quickly and accurately processing billions of polygons. The engine, dubbed PantaRay, was designed to accelerate pre-computation of scene occlusion data and dynamic image-based lighting in James Cameron’s Avatar.
“The complexity of Avatar motivated us to think about rendering differently. We do our final beauty-pass renders with RenderMan, but to optimize artistic iterations on Avatar’s huge data sets, we moved the bulk of the calculation to a pre-computation step,” explained Sebastian Sylwan, Weta’s head of research and development. More..