NVIDIA iray and GPUs Supercharge Artist Jeff Patton’s Designs for Mercedes
submitted by NVIDIA
June 28, 2011
Jeff Patton (jeffpatton.net) is
a prolific, self-taught, freelance computer graphics (CG) artist who has
created mechanical illustrations for major companies including
Honeywell, Delta Controls and Johnson Controls, among others. He is also
a recognized expert in Autodesk 3ds Max 3D software and NVIDIA mental
ray rendering software; an active beta tester who has taught an Autodesk
Master Class and writes tutorials
on techniques for using both software solutions effectively.
In early 2010, some photo-real vehicle renders that Patton had
created caught the attention of Mercedes Benz USA (MBUSA), which
approached him to develop images for its website and print advertising.
He was given computer aided design (CAD) data for each vehicle along
with environmental backplates, and tasked with compositing CG vehicles
into those backplates while accentuating the cars’ curves via
reflections and lighting. He knew that the images he created would need
to be a blend of photorealism and studio imagery - cars that appear to
be physically photographed, but which are touched by Patton’s artistry
in reflections and lighting and further refined by the talented staff at
MBUSA to create the most appealing visual possible.
When he started the project, Patton was using 3ds Max software with
mental ray and the Chaos Group V-Ray rendering engine on a CPU. Given
the large file sizes he was working with and the amount of rendering
that the images required, his work was slow going, with renders taking
approximately an hour per image.
Patton believed that the high-efficiency NVIDIA iray rendering
software would be ideally suited for his Mercedes Benz product
visualization project. As the first interactive, photo-realistic and
physically correct rendering solution to leverage the power of NVIDIA
Quadro and Tesla professional graphics processing units (GPUs), the
combination would supercharge both his artistry and efficiency. So he
made the performance leap to iray and NVIDIA GPU computational
visualization, configuring a workstation with NVIDIA Quadro 6000 and
Tesla C2070 GPUs, both featuring 6GB of memory to handle the very high
resolution 6K images Mercedes Benz required, along with the 5GB of model
and scene data they were supplying.
Patton said, "After I finished my first full Mercedes Benz project
with the new NVIDIA setup, I was stunned. Rendering out the images at 6K
in the past took me about an hour per image using the CPU. With iray and
Quadro, I was able to knock that down to eight minutes - EIGHT minutes!
It’s a huge benefit to be able to turn things around that much faster."
Since he began using iray with NVIDIA Quadro 6000 and Tesla C2070
GPUs on the Mercedes Benz project, Patton’s renders have been running up
to 7.5X faster than they had on mental ray and V-Ray running on the
Intel Core i7 960 3.2GHz CPU.
In addition to the speed improvements achieved with NVIDIA GPU
acceleration, Patton also realized improved clarity and detail in his
images thanks to the photo-realistic capabilities of NVIDIA iray. "The
glass, the headlights - you can see every detail," said Patton. "I
wasn’t able to get that before without using really high sampling rates
in other programs, and even then I couldn’t pull out all of the details
I can see now. There was a huge increase in clarity and detail that iray
was able to pull out."
NVIDIA iray also saves Patton time during the scene setup and render
configuration phases of his workflow. "With iray I can just set my
glossy material value to what I want and move on. I don’t have to spend
time configuring material and light sample values to balance grain and
render speed or adjusting overall image sampling."
Since all of his image processing now takes place on the GPU, Patton
can use the CPU for other tasks. "In so many ways, iray running on the
NVIDIA GPUs allows me to work faster and create higher quality images.
I’m handling more images in less time, and I can do more things with
that time I save - whether it’s taking on more work or spending more
time with my family."
He added, "The GPUs have made such a dramatic impact on my work. It’s
such an impressive increase in both detail and speed. The NVIDIA GPU
hardware and iray are an amazing combination. I can’t wait to see how
much further they develop in the future."