Instant photorealistic 3D cloud computing

November 16, 2009 · 1 comment

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You may think that’s a photograph of the interior of a car but your wrong. Not about the interior but about the photograph. It’s not real. It’s a rendered 3D model.

Big deal. Any powerful desktop computer fitted with the latest powerhouse graphics card can render a photorealistic 3D model given enough time. You’re absolutely right. But this photorealistic image was rendered in real-time using ray tracing. But it’s more, a lot more. You can render it real-time on any computing device that supports a browser or standard Web services calls, including netbooks and smartphones. How is that possible?

Current netbooks can’t even play HD YouTube movies without choking let alone render a photorealistic 3D model in less than a week or two. Well, these images aren’t rendered on your device. They are rendered real-time in the cloud and instantly send back to your device over the Internet.

Photorealistic 3D coming to iPhone near you

How real does it get?

Does it get anymore real than this?

This is done by Nvidia’s RealityServer, a server cluster of ultra high-powered GPUs connected to the Internet.  Nvidia hopes to bring complex graphics applications like architectural design, real-time product styling and design and 3D video games, to computing platforms that don’t have the processing power to run them locally. It’s as if every device has world’s fastest graphic card built-in except it’s not in the device but somewhere on a server farm. All the graphic crunching is done in the cloud and instantly send back to any computing device for real-time photorealistic viewing. ExtremeTech has an extensive article about the technology including an interview with a senior product manager for Nvidia’s Tesla business division.

Ubiquitious 3D

What does 3D in the cloud do for us mortal souls? It means photorealistic 3D will become ubiquitious in nearly every device. In the next couple of years you’ll log onto an Audi car site with your iPhone and pick whatever colors or options you want for your car. With a touch of your finger you instantly get a photorealistic rendering of your personalized car in 3D. You could look at it from any angle. And it doesn’t matter if you’re viewing it on your molasses slow ‘antique’ 2009 iPhone. It’s all rendered in the cloud.

Perhaps your shopping for a new dress but the store only has a black one that fits you but you would like to see how you look in red. Simply stand in front of the smart mirror, choose the color of your liking and you’ll see yourself in the mirror wearing that red dress. You can even turn around and look at yourself from all sides. You wouldn’t be able to distinguish the red dress from the real thing. A camera in the smart mirror would film you constantly, send the data to the 3D rendering farm, render a superimposed red dress onto your body and in real-time send it back to the mirror. In the beginning there probably will be a slight lag but within a few years it will become so instant you wouldn’t notice. (The virtual mirror is already being developed. Fast forward to minute 2.42 in this Bright report video)

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Imagine Call of Duty with the RealityServer

What about applications like multiplayer games on your smartphone or desktop PC? According to Nvidia that will also happen soon. The quality of each frame may not be as photorealistic as the photographs you see in this post but it would be a hundred times better than SimCity.

A revolution in the making

These are just a few of the incredible possibilities that the future of 3D in the cloud will offer us. According to Nvidia some of this may already happen in the next year or two. If you ask me this could be another revolution in the making. The future just ain’t what it used to be.

View a demo of the RealityServer:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Kchase February 23, 2010 at 18:10

Wow, great post, thank you for the information. I was just looking for a solution to doing photorealistic rendering in the cloud, because if you have systems like the seti at home program and other science based cloud computing, why not something like a rendering cloud. So far all i can tell from nvidia’s site is that this is just an enterprise level platform for real time usage, which is awesome, and i look forward to the next couple of years. do you happen to know of any system that you could use for personal photorealistic rendering that doesn’t have to be real time?

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