Raytracing In Real Time? Yes Please!

Today I’m starting a lip sync test with audio for a DDA animation we are working on. This will be the first time I’ve attempted to use audio in a 3d program besides 3ds Max, which allows you to directly import the audio and work with the waveform directly on the timeline.

For this project, I once again turn to Third Wish Software’s excellent Magpie lip syncing program, which helps the animator key out the mouth movements needed before going into the 3d program. This helps me test and time the animation ahead of time, eliminating the trial and error stage of animating to audio.

In other very cool news, I came across this article today, about some scientists who are working on ray tracing games. Make sure you watch the video – it’s really impressive stuff! Ray Tracing is an advanced method of 3d rendering which helps a 3d artists simulate shadows, reflections, refractions, projections, and a whole slew of other stuff in a 3d program, creating much more realistic renders.

So far, it has never been used in games due to the large amount of time needed for current gen machines to calculate the rays. These guys have applied ray tracing to Enemy Territories: Quake Wars, an existing current-gen PC game, and it totally works! It’s really exciting to think that the high-quality 3d rendering techniques we use at DDA will, at some point in the future, be able to be calculated in real time. That just saves us render time, allowing us to turn client projects around faster than ever!