Rendering and Animation

NVIDIA GTC 2014: The Dawn of Pascal; the Rise of the Machines

At NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC, March 24-27, San Jose, California), the self-driving Audi Connect upstaged even NVIDIA’s enigmatic CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. The autonomous vehicle drove itself onto the stage, providing the big finish to Huang’s keynote. But the Audi’s presence may have a purpose greater than the Wow factor. Huang suggests the GPU would play a crucial role in machine learning.

As he stepped up to deliver his keynote address to the GPU faithfuls in San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center, Huang quipped, “A good friend said [GTC] is like the Woodstock of computational mathematicians. I hope it turns out the same way.”

For the past several years, NVIDIA has worked to redefine the GPU’s identity. The company’s message: The graphics processor is not just for fueling the blood, gore, and explosions in video games and movies. When bunched together, they have sufficient firepower to tackle large-scale problems that affect humanity — from accurate weather simulation to DNA sequencing. For the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), that means automated parsing of visual cues to make decisions. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

NVIDIA GTC 2014: Find Your Device in the Cloud

This week, at NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC, March 24-27, San Jose, California), NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was almost upstaged by an Audi. The self-driving Audi Connect drove itself onto the stage, providing the big finish for Haung’s keynote on Monday.

Before he shared the stage with a driver-less car, Huang also shared the stage with Ben Fathi, CTO of VMware, the company that might foster enterprises operating in a computer-less environment. Haung introduced Fathi as the point man from “the largest and one of the most important virtualization companies in the world.”

Fathi and Huang took the opportunity to discuss Horizon DaaS, VMware’s business that delivers Windows desktops as virtual machines available on-demand, accessible remotely. Just as SaaS vendors deliver software as a service over the internet, VMware plans to deliver “Windows desktops and applications as a cloud service, to any device, anywhere, with predictable costs,” explained the company.

The foundation technology is NVIDIA Grid’s GPU-based HPC hardware, and VMware’s cloud setup. VMware’s partner NaviSite is the first to offer Horizon DaaS products to enterprises. Later, in 2015, virtual GPUs will become part of Horizon DaaS offerings. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

A Quick Look at Lagoa’s Cloud-Hosted Rendering

There are quite a few CAD-friendly rendering packages in the market: Luxion KeyShot, Bunkspeed SHOT, The Foundry’s MODO (a Luxology product before The Foundary-Luxology merger), to name but three. Because rendering is a compute-intense process, rendering programs usually require a robust workstation powered by multiple CPUs (and, for the packages that support it, GPUs too). If you install and run these programs on a typical consumer PC, your machine will most likely freeze up or slow to a crawl when the rendering operation begins.

Lagoa‘s basic tools are not significantly different from what you’ll find in a typical rendering program: You import your 3D asset, set up the scene, and render it into an high-res image. The major difference is the hardware requirement — or the lack of it. Lagoa runs inside a browser, so you don’t need to install the program. Once you’ve acquired your credentials, you can log into your private workspace online. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Have Yourself a Merry Little Solver

How do engineers entertain themselves between eggnog and dinner? How do they amuse themselves when the stockings are stuffed, the trees are trimmed, and the angels on the windowsills are strung? Well, apparently, some fire up their favorite simulation programs to run imaginative CFD tests to examine well-known X’mas phenomenons, ranging from the practical to the miraculous.

After picking up a Christmas tree for his home, Patrick Hanley, Ph.D., who runs Hanley Innovations, decided to reproduce the airflow around his minivan with the giant pine shrub strapped to the top. He downloaded from TurboSquid the 3D model of a car that was “close enough” to his own, downloaded and scaled a Christmas the same way, and imported the assembly into Stallion 3D, the aerodynamic analysis package he developed. Patrick applied Navier-Stokes equations to the setup to calculate the airflow. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Don’t Install–Stream! NVIDIA Grid to Power Remote 3D Apps on Amazon Cloud

Graphics-heavy 3D programs once inseparably tied to powerful desktops are migrating. They’re heading into the cloud. More and more are making their debut as SaaS offerings. Today’s announcement from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and NVIDIA is further proof that cloud-hosted CAD is not merely speculative or conceptual; it’s already here, waiting in your browser. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading