We Can't Forget About VR, Which Will Change Everything
Rendering takes immense amounts of GPU horsepower, and when we start considering VR headsets, this only increases as we need to render 90FPS and above in real-time to a VR headset. The tiny details of the environments being rendered will have to increase, as people will physically walk up to the walls, chairs, doors, windows and look at every single little bit with excruciating detail.
You're not going to spend $350,000 on a house, or $25 million on a new building, and have your architect show you a sketch of it - no matter how detailed that sketch - it doesn't compare to a fully-baked render on a PC. That fully-baked render doesn't compare to a real-time demo of that same environment because it doesn't take a week of GPUs pumping away at frames.
The next level is VR, where AMD continues its path towards 16K per eye for VR headsets, as RTG boss Raja Koduri said not too long ago. 16K per eye for VR is going to require GPU horsepower that is nearly unimaginable right now, but AMD says we're going to get there quicker than we think. Remember that it doesn't need to all be about brute GPU horsepower, as software plays an impossibly large part of rendering.
Cloud-based rendering is becoming more and more important as we've just discussed, and open source is a large part of that too. It means that other developers can find ways to improve the path to real-time raytracing, and then we move into raytracing in VR, in real-time. The detail level will reach a point where we won't be able to tell the difference between a virtual reality, and the real one.
Overall, I'm excited to see the direction of AMD in the professional space. The professional rendering market is absolutely massive, and with AMD's commitment to open source, it's only going to get better. AMD doesn't want to lock consumers into middleware, and with what I see at Siggraph so far, it's doing a great job of that.
Where to from here? Environments being rendered in real-time for VR is going to be harder, especially once the HMD makers start pumping out 4K-capable VR headsets. But what about 16K per eye? Well, AMD will have Navi in 2018 which will have much more power than Polaris and even Vega, and that's when the fun really begins.
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