V-Ray Plug in For Unreal Engine UE4 in BETA

Chaos Group has just launched V-Ray for Unreal, the new version of its V-Ray renderer for Unreal Engine.

The product makes it possible both to import V-Ray scenes into Unreal Engine to use as the basis of immersive real-time experience and to generate ray traced renders within UE4.

Import V-Ray scenes created in 3ds Max, Maya and SketchUp into Unreal Engine V-Ray for Unreal makes it possible to import scenes created in other editions of V-Ray – at the minute, 3ds Max, Maya and SketchUp – into Unreal Engine. The process automatically converts V-Ray lights and materials into their real-time equivalents.

(Epic Games’ own Unreal Studio – itself just released in beta – does something similar, but only for 3ds Max scenes with V-Ray materials.)

Adjust materials and lighting in UE4 in real time, then generate a ray traced render As well as using a V-Ray scene as the basis for a conventional Unreal Engine project, users can also use UE4 as an environment in which to make changes to materials and lighting in real time.

The changes are then propagated back to V-Ray; or you can generate a ray traced render within UE4 itself.

The system is intended to make it possible to create both offline and real-time content with a single unified workflow, particularly for visualisation projects.

Pricing and availability – V-Ray for Unreal is currently in closed beta. You can apply to join the beta program here: to do so, you will need to have registered for an account on Chaos Group’s website, which is free.

So far, Chaos Group hasn’t annnounced any details of the commercial release date or pricing.

Read more about V-Ray for Unreal on Chaos Group’s website

Boost Realtime VFX in Unreal Engine (UE4) with multiple GPUs using SLI

GPU Render Performance

Scalable Link Interface (SLI) is a multi-GPU configuration that offers increased rendering performance by dividing the workload across multiple GPUs.

Since UE4.15 Unreal Engine has been able to take advantage of machines and servers with multiple GPUs, so long as the GPU and system are compatible with SLI functionality.

Realtime Ray Tracing Demo
Realtime VFX demo Ray Tracing at GDC 2018 by Unreal Engine ILMxLab and Nvidia.

To take advantage of SLI, the system must use an SLI-certified motherboard. Such motherboards have multiple PCI-Express x16 slots and are specifically engineered for SLI configurations.

Building Multiple GPU machines

To create a multi-GPU SLI configuration, [NVIDIA] GPUs must be attached to at least two of these slots, and then these GPUs must be linked using external SLI bridge connectors.

Once the hardware is configured for SLI, and the driver is properly installed for all the GPUs, SLI rendering must be enabled in the NVIDIA control panel. At this point, the driver can treat both GPUs as one logical device, and divide rendering workload automatically depending on the selected mode.

There are five SLI rendering modes available:

  • Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR)
  • Split Frame Rendering (SFR)
  • Boost Performance Hybrid SLI
  • SLIAA
  • Compatibility mode

If you are building a multiple GPU system with GPUs of different capabilities, say a Titan X and then a couple of Quadros, you can utilise the SLI Compatibility mode. This mode enables UE4 to push rendering tasks to the most suitable GPU in your set up. Hard tasks go to the more powerful while the other less powerful GPUs in your rig handle the less, and more appropriate tasks. If you are interested in understanding more about SLI take a look at the following page on the Nvidia website.

UPDATE 26/03/2018 after posting this post to the Octane Render group on Facebook a few interesting comments came up that we thought we’d ad to this post.

James Hibbert said “just for clarification, this article is talking a lot about SLI, and using SLI bridges, you do not need any of that for rendering with Octane using multiple GPUs.” But then added “IF you are using UE4, then yes you will probably want SLI if in the context of your project it actually gives you some benefit. That is not always a given with Raster rendering. However with Octane, your speed scales 1:1 with the number of GPUs you have.

James Hibbert, just an aside, every PC Tech guru seems to agree on one thing. For games, at least the vast majority of them, a gamer is better off getting the fastest single GPU they can afford, rather than getting 2 slower/cheaper cards and running them in SLI/Crossfire. For Octane, and Red Shift, you simply need as many GPUs as you can afford.

Just remember Multi-GPU and SLI are not the same thing. SLI is a specific technology from Nvidia. Octane does not use SLI, Octane uses muli-gpu (not sure exactly wich flavor there is, but your motherboard does it on it’s own with the help of the OS).

There is a difference.

Now there is another form of of Multi-GPU from nvidia called NV Link, NV Link is similar to SLI, but allows you to do things like stack GPU memory, so if you have 4 GPUs with 11gb of VRAM you will have a total of 44gb of VRAM, where as all other forms would still leave you with the original 11gb. keep in mind that NV Link is not available on consumer GPUs, and you need to use Quadro or Tesla cards to use it.

Hopefully that will change with the next line of consumer GPUs from Nvidia. SLI support from nvidia has dropped off quite a bit to the point where they only support 2 way SLI officially. I kinda suspect that they will either be dropping SLI altogether or migrate everything to NVLink in future products. Because of the Raytrace UE4 demo, UE4 will feature support for NV Link in a future build, because they land to link multiple GPUs to get it to run in real-time.”

Real-Time Ray Tracing in Unreal Engine 4

Unreal+Engine-real-time-ray-tracing2

Epic Games, in collaboration with NVIDIA and ILMxLAB, today gave the first public demonstration of real-time ray tracing in Unreal Engine. Real-time ray tracing is considered to be a holy grail for those creating high-end cinematic imagery, and one that signifies a leap forward in the convergence of film and games.

Epic Games Demonstrates Real-Time Ray Tracing in Unreal Engine 4 with ILMxLAB and NVIDIA

During yesterday’s “State of Unreal” opening session at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the three companies presented an experimental cinematic demo using Star Wars characters from The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi built with Unreal Engine 4. The demonstration is powered by NVIDIA’s RTX technology for Volta GPUs, available via Microsoft’s DirectX Ray Tracing API (DXR). An iPad running ARKit is used as a virtual camera to draw focus to fine details in up-close views.

Unreal+Engine-real-time-ray-tracing1

Epic built the computer-generated (CG) scene using assets from Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi featuring Captain Phasma, clad in her distinctive armor of salvaged chromium, and two stormtroopers who run into her on an elevator on the First Order ship. In the tech demo, lighting is moved around the scene interactively, as the ray-traced effects including shadows and photorealistic reflections render in real time. The stunning image quality of highly reflective surfaces and soft shadows has never before been achieved at such a high level of image fidelity in Unreal Engine.

Next-generation rendering features shown in today’s demo include:

Textured area lights
Ray-traced area light shadows
Ray-traced reflections
Ray-traced ambient occlusion
Cinematic depth of field (DOF)
NVIDIA GameWorks ray tracing denoising

“Ray tracing is a rendering process typically only associated with high-end offline renderers and hours and hours of computer processing time,” said Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. “Film-quality ray tracing in real time is an Unreal Engine first. This is an exciting new development for the media and entertainment linear content worlds—and any markets that require photorealistic visualization.”

“At ILMxLAB, our mission is to create real-time rendered immersive experiences that let audiences step into our stories and connect with cinematic universes that look and feel as real as the ones on the movie screen. With the real-time ray-tracing technology that Epic and NVIDIA are pioneering, we are a pivotal step closer to that goal,” says Mohen Leo, ILMxLAB Director of Content and Platform Strategy.

Epic Games worked closely with NVIDIA to support the NVIDIA RTX technology available through the DXR API. Running on an NVIDIA DGX Station, the demo was brought to life via a collaboration between Epic’s dedicated graphics and engine team, NVIDIA’s world-class ray tracing experts and the technical ingenuity and creative artistry of ILMxLAB.

Google buys Lytro for next to nothing.

Insiders at Google and Lytro are saying that the sale price of Lytro could be as little as $25m. Google is in talks with Lytro over its assets which include some 59 patients in light field and optical technologies.

Google buys Lytro

To much too soon for this Light-field pioneer.

Its a case of too much too soon, as the once shiny Lytro took to the front of the light field development scene. But then, Lyto’s consumer product flopped and expensive cracks started to appear. Not to say the company was wrong, but more a case of too soon for a market that was just not ready to support such ideas.

Typical, think back to the start of the web, have you even heard of Compuserve? No, well history seems to be repeating itself as early market entrants get overtaken, sold off or worse they simply fade out of business. [CompuServe was the first major commercial online service provider in the United States. It dominated the field during the 1980s and remained a major influence through the mid-1990s] Some of the companies at the front of the light-field, volumetric, 360, and VR race seem to be running out of fuel, meanwhile others, in some cases who may not be pushing the envelope so far, are seeing a rush of funding.

The world’s not a fair place, the tech world is down right savage. The sale of Lytro to Google is the start of a mopping-up wave that will see bigger companies harvesting the IP assets of these early pioneers. We feel quite sad as Lytro was indeed a true pioneer of what is today becoming the vital component of virtual experiences – the ability to see light and depth.

What will Google do with the Lytro technology? For the cost of the purchase, Google will probably just pass the IP into its own hardware developments, the learning itself is worth the cost, which could be as low as $25M. Even if the price of Lytro was double that, the hard work that the Lytro team have done over the past few years is like hitting a quick key, to the Google teams.

Realtime VFX in Unreal Engine 4 Tutorial

realtime VFX tutorial
Unreal Engine's real-time volumetric rendering tools to create seamless special effects that integrated perfectly with the action.

Realtime VFX using Unreal Engine (UE4) is pushing the boundaries of on-set realtime production. Here at On-set Facilities we build realtime VFX machines, sets and realtime production solutions that are optimised for realtime VFX using Unreal Engine (UE4). Tutorial Video after the jump:

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