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NVIDIA introduced at SIGGRAPH 2015 a set of APIs called DesignWorks VRNvidia-designworks-vr2
to help designers use the immersive nature of VR to better anticipate how
humans and products might interact.

NVIDIA DesignWorks VR Opens Virtual Reality to Professional Design

AtSIGGRAPH 2015,NVIDIAshowed how product, VR headset and other kinds of designers are employing the immersive nature of virtual reality to better anticipate how humans and potential products might interact. They can create and test digitally sculpted models of their products within a virtual environment before creating physical prototypes.

To formalize that process, NVIDIA has developed a new set ofAPIs, librariesandfunctionscalledDesignWorks VR, which they introduced at the conference. These components can contribute to the development of VR environments like head-mounted displays, immersive VR spaces such as CAVEs, and computer cluster systems to drive immersive installations.

GPU Control

DesignWorks VR extends NVIDIA’s existingGameWorks VR SDK, specialised for game developers, with better support for OpenGL and other functionality directed at professional VR applications. For example,VR SLIis a DirectX extension API that gives engine developers explicit control over how work is distributed across any number of GPUs. Relating to virtual reality apps where multiple GPUs are in use, one or more of them can be assigned a specific eye to accelerate stereo rendering. As part of Designworks VR, VR SLI is available both in DirectX and OpenGL graphics systems.

GPU Affinitycan also improve performance by closely managing the placement of graphics and rendering workloads across multiple GPUs, resulting in fine enough control to link OpenGL contexts to specific GPUs.Multi-resolution shadingis a new rendering technique for VR that renders each part of an image at a resolution that better matches the pixel density of the warped image. It also usesNVIDIA Maxwell multi-projection architectureto render multiple scaled viewports in a single pass.


Warp & BlendAPIs make application independent geometery corrections and intensity adjustments across full desktops to create uninterrupted VR CAVE environments, without increasing latency.Synchronizationtechniques prevent tearing and image misalignment while creating one large desktop that is driven from multiple GPUs or clusters. Frame lock, stereo lock, swap groups and swap barriers and other methods are available to help design expansive, unbroken VR CAVE and cluster environments.

NVIDIA’sGPU Direct for Videosystem supports video transfers to and from the GPU with low latency, so developers can equally overlay video and graphics into VR environments.

Lower Latency Headsets

Specific to VR headset development,context priorityis used to control GPU scheduling to support more complex VR functions like asynchronous time warp, which cuts latency and quickly adjusts images as gamers move their heads, without having to re-render a new frame.

For better compatibility with headsets, developers haveDirect Mode, in which the NVIDIA driver treats the VR headset as a head mounted display accessible only to VR applications, rather than a normal Windows monitor that displays the user’s desktop.Front render bufferingenables the GPU to render directly to the front or primary buffer to reduce latency, instead of waiting for all drawing to be completed on the back buffer and swapping to the front.


VR for Cars

Among the first automotive companies to use VR to create vehicles,Ford Motor Companywas in NVIDIA’s SIGGRAPH booth showing how their team of engineers and designers have used VR over the last few years. They work together and simultaneously on digital prototypes from locations around the world within a UHD virtual reality space - before building physical prototypes.

Ford’s digital models, which are interactive and include photoreal detailing, are created withAutodesk VRED3D virtual prototyping and visualization software, run on twoQuadro M6000grahics cards. Wearing an Oculus headset, the designers or engineers can examine the entire exterior and interior of a car design closely enough to see how a specific element looks, such as the texture of the dashboard or upholstery. They can also check the position, shape and effectiveness of individual design elements, such as lighting size and brightness.

By using the DesignWorks VR tools, both Ford and Autodesk were able to increase performance in ways that made the demos smoother and more interactive.

Other companies like Audi andVideostichalso showed how they are working with VR in design. Filmmakers are interested in interactive cinematic VR. At SIGGRAPH, visitors to NVIDIA’s booth could step into the‘Thief in the Shadows’game experience built inside the Lord of the Rings world. It is created by Weta Digital and Epic Games and powered by the NVIDIAGeForce GTX TITAN X GPUto deliver the imagery at 90 fps. Viewers wore theCrescent Bayprototype headset fromOculusand took the role of a Hobbit seeking out treasure in a 360° environment depicting a dragon’s lair gleaming with gold and watched over by the dragon itself. www.nvidia.com