Get all the latest V-Ray news, Corona updates and highlights from Chaos’ new real-time ray tracer, Lavina — plus the full scoop from Total Chaos @ SIGGRAPH 2019.
Everyone’s talking about real-time ray tracing. An early glimpse of Project Lavina, Chaos' groundbreaking application for 100% ray tracing in real-time, was revealed last year at SIGGRAPH. And this year, for the first time, SIGGRAPH attendees were able to get hands-on experience with Lavina on both the exhibition floor and during the annual NVIDIA Limelight event in Los Angeles.
Project Lavina can fully ray trace massive 3D scenes without workarounds or the complex setup of a game engine. Artists can simply drag and drop their V-Ray scenes and work in a fully ray-traced environment, animating, iterating and assessing without any loss of detail.
The new features in Project Lavina were demonstrated at SIGGRAPH with several scenes including a 1-billion polygon KitBash3D city designed by environment artist Evan Butler and a fully interactive walkthrough of 15-year Blur veteran Kevin Margo’s “CONSTRUCT” movie site using a single NVIDIA RTX card and a laptop.
For the second year in a row, Chaos Group earned a SIGGRAPH 2019 Silver Edge Award from Computer Graphics World for Project Lavina, for "making it possible to fully ray-trace massive 3D scenes smoothly and easily."
V-Ray for Houdini
SIGGRAPH 2019 also marked the official release of Chaos’ V-Ray for Houdini. The already-production-proven renderer for SideFX’s beloved Houdini, built for demanding, high-end VFX and animation projects, allows artists to assemble their scenes in a procedural environment, using V-Ray for Houdini for even greater control. Ingenuity Studios has been using V-Ray for Houdini since it was in alpha, which has helped the studio create impressive effects across high-profile pieces for the likes of Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and The Walking Dead. Read how Ingenuity Studios has been using V-Ray for Houdini and how the studio worked with Chaos to make it production-ready.
New VFX & animation showreel
It’s a Chaos tradition that each year at SIGGRAPH, we reveal our latest, hottest, greatest VFX showreel — and this year was no exception. Featuring the biggest client list yet, be sure to watch through to the end of our 2019 V-Ray VFX Reel to see the very many credits in this year’s impressive roster:
The V-Ray 2019 VFX Reel was debuted on day one of Total Chaos @ SIGGRAPH 2019 — read on to learn all about the guests and talks that took place.
Two days of inspiring presentations
In the first Total Chaos edition outside of Sofia, Bulgaria, SIGGRAPH 2019 was the perfect opportunity to host Chaos’ first leg of our now-international event series. Bringing some of the most inspiring talks from Total Chaos 2019 in Sofia this May and adding to the lineup with incredible Los Angeles-based guests such as Elastic’s Kirk Shintani and Pixomondo VFX rockstars, the talks were presented to over 600 guests across two days and included many huge names in VFX and architecture. Our very own Agents of Chaos additionally delivered technical insights into V-Ray and Corona for those that wanted to take a deeper dive.
Did you miss Total Chaos @ SIGGRAPH? You can watch many of the talks from Total Chaos 2019 in Sofia on our recap page, plus see more event recordings on our official ChaosGroupTV YouTube channel.
Demos on the show floor
Meanwhile, on the SIGGRAPH 2019 Exhibition show floor, Agents of Chaos were demoing Lavina at the NVIDIA booth — including our Co-Founder and CTO at Chaos Group, Vlado Koylazov (pictured here). The demo scene displayed here is the huge environment Kevin Margo created for his CONSTRUCT movie, rendering in real-time (which simply wasn’t possible on a single-GPU machine when Kevin started the project several years ago!).
"You’ll be able to use Lavina this year."
—Vladimir Koylazov, CTO, Chaos Group
The second presentation of the day was our annual “Vlado in Renderland” extra-deep dive into the behind-the-scenes development work happening at Chaos. Vlado discussed some of the new and sometimes hidden features in the Next versions of V-Ray and how the optimizations are building the path to even better future workflows and results. Project Lavina, Chaos’ real-time raytracer, was also up for discussion — and when asked by the audience when users can expect to try Lavina, Vlado responded: “You’ll be able to use Lavina this year.” Eager to learn more? You can watch the full presentation of Vlado in Renderland now:
Vlado also revealed why Chaos developers have decided to officially rebuild V-Ray for Cinema 4D from the ground up. Currently working on the lights and materials, with a focus on interactive rendering, motion blur, GPU support and efficient texture mapping coordinates, V-Ray for Cinema 4D is an exciting development and more information will follow later this year — stay tuned!
"We’re making caustics simple to compute."
—Ondra Karlík, CTO & Main Developer, Corona Renderer
Taking the penultimate slot on day one, Ondra Karlík, CTO & Main Developer of Corona Renderer took attendees into the world of caustics. This common optical phenomenon — like the curved patterns of light at the bottom of a swimming pool — is often rendered inefficiently. Ondra revealed how caustic rendering was implemented into Corona Renderer version 4, boosting the realism of Corona images significantly. Ondra describes why this effect is so difficult to compute, previous approaches to the problem and how the Corona team overcame the obstacles. Check out the recording of Ondra’s presentation below:
"Work on what matters."
—Grant Miller, Partner & VFX Supervisor, Ingenuity Studios
Grant Miller wrapped up day one of Total Chaos @ SIGGRAPH. Partner & VFX Supervisor at Ingenuity Studios, they got their big break in music videos — and if the studio gets at least three weeks to turnaround 100-150 shots they consider themselves lucky! Now with over 100 people in the company, Grant revealed how V-Ray for Houdini has been helping Ingenuity render impressive visual effects since it was all the way back in alpha. Over the last three years, V-Ray for Houdini has made instancing 100-times faster, helping Ingenuity get results down from eight minutes to eight seconds.
The topic of Grant’s talk was how to work smarter and faster. With plentiful tips on how to always look at the bigger picture, where to find every kind of HDRI you’ll ever need (two words: HDRI Haven!), and why their in-house codeword is “A.B.R.” (Always Be Rendering), Grant’s talk was packed with advice on how to keep atop of tight deadlines while retaining the utmost quality. And if you missed Grant’s talk at SIGGRAPH, you can watch an earlier version of his presentation given at Total Chaos in Sofia in May 2019:
The moment that our panelists (from left to right) Joy, Sarah, Albena, Sara, Keely, and Kat realized they were all wearing white shoes.
The panelists shared their own superpowers — which included the powers of negotiation, tenacity, curiosity, sense of humor, and strategy — as well as their individual career stories and first steps into the industry. Topics touched on feeling alone as a woman in games and how they each sought mentors in both men and women to help make their careers more meaningful. The discussion concluded with a mutual agreement that the best way to make a change is at the educational level, with more mentorships at schools and colleges. “We can each be a tiny drop that builds a bigger ocean,” was Albena’s closing statement.
During the panel, Kat suggested everyone watch “Purl,” the Pixar SparkShorts story of a young yarn ball that gets her exciting break in a male-dominated industry. Directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan, the film offers a powerful message that we can (and should) all learn from:
“Purl” is the story of a yarn ball that tries to change herself to be accepted into a male-dominated company structure. But does she really need to change? Watch to find out.
And that’s a wrap!
We work with artists and studios throughout the year to make our products faster, better and stronger in production. From Kirk Shintani’s decade-long V-Ray journey creating the title sequences for Game of Thrones to Grant Miller’s early adoption of V-Ray for Houdini that helped Ingenuity Studios render thousands of snakes for the billion-plus views Taylor Swift music video, always remember: Vlado listens. We listen. Whether you want to see new materials in VRscans or you’d like to report a particular workflow in V-Ray that you find more difficult than it needs to be, you can contact Chaos anytime. Tell us how we can make your rendering experiences even better!