Geomerics Enlighten – Global Illumination Lighting Solution For VR
Geomerics, an ARM company, has created Enlighten – a real-time global illumination technology adopted by the world’s leading game engines – had published a blog post today that showing how Enlighten can be used to improve the lighting effects in a VR game or scene without negatively impacting frame rates.
VR is recognized as one of the most revolutionary and disruptive emerging technologies today, and for the next one or two decades to come!
With major consumer VR headsets such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, Gear VR and open-sourced OSVR arriving the end of 2015 and early 2016, VR revolution is gradually building up unprecedented momentum and about to explode!
Lighting is essential to immersive technology, one of the corner stones and defining fundamental building blocks of any truly convincing and mind-blowing virtual and game environment. It serves as a critical component of a realistic experience, where even minor artefacts will make an entire scene seem odd and out of place, detracting from full immersion…
Global illumination brings realism to a scene as it simulates the real-world behaviour of light, where objects and lights are interdependent on each other, rather than limiting it to the direct light hitting a surface immediately from a light source. It can bring three dimensional life to the geometry, amplify the emotional feel of a scene and draw the eyes to important areas of focus, thus creating a more accurate and realistic VR experience. For high-end gaming, this feeling of actually being in a scene is paramount. ( Excerpt from Geomerics Official Website )
Lastly, delivering the ultimate VR experience requires extremely low latency from sensors to pixels on screen and extremely high frame-rates. A screen update that is lagging the speed at which the head is tracking will be perceived as lag and jittery. It doesn’t even need to be that slow for the experience to be ruined. Furthermore, the traditional 30-60 fps is simply not sufficient for a seamless VR experience. VR manufacturers are looking at refresh rates that far exceed 60fps – even over 100 fps is not uncommon. ( Excerpt from Geomerics Official Website )
Enlighten Providing Illumination & Lighting Computation Output In Real-Time
VR graphic computation and rendering takes lots of GPU and CPU space. As explained above, virtual reality real-time rendering requires a capable and powerful GPU, because essentially, you are almost doubling the workload!
Today’s industry standard and demanded high frame-rate at 70-90 frames per second requirements added to the already heavy workload. High quality global illumination is an essential aspect of a scene that usually demands a high allocation of the GPU’s budget, hence there is a need for a more holistic, system-wide approach!
Enlighten works by taking the location of static geometry, or surface to surface visibility of the static geometry in the scene, precomputes it and compresses the data to be used at runtime. The Enlighten runtime then uses the precomputed data to compute the Enlighten output in real time.
The Enlighten output changes depending on both the configuration of the lights and on the diffuse colours of the surfaces in the scene, information for which is provided by the game engine.
The game engine renderer runs on the GPU while the Enlighten runtime usually runs on the CPU. Enlighten does however, give you options to allocate the location of computation.
Enlighten Friction-Free Rendering Solution
The Enlighten runtime is designed to run entirely asynchronously alongside the main renderer (friction-free rendering), without causing blockages.
As Enlighten can compute dynamic indirect lighting on the CPU, independent of the GPU, it means that the system GPU can “compute once, render twice,” providing consistent results with no screen-space artefacts.
This intelligent system-wide approach allows for a more intelligent allocation of computation for high quality global illumination.
By offloading aspects of the lighting from the GPU to CPU, it empowers developers to increase the complexity of effects and achieve even higher performance. Enlighten also supports the high frame-rate global illumination required, making it the ideal tool for VR applications.
Enlighten’s friction-free rendering along with high frame-rate support enable seamless and immersive virtual experiences possible. Reality it seems, finally has competition!
Content Source: Geomerics Official Website