Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Saturday, August 15, 2020
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NVIDIA Solution Brings Mercedes Illustrations to Life 

The Mercedes Benz product visualization project creates highly-detailed, photorealistic images using NVIDIA's iray rendering solution.

Striking photorealistic creations that capture the appeal and lure of the iconic Mercedes brand are the latest endeavor of Jeff Patton, a prolific, self-taught, freelance computer graphics (CG) artist. Patton originally created the mechanical illustrations as an example of his skill, but the quality of his work soon captured the attention of Mercedes Benz USA (MBUSA). The company commissioned the graphic artist with creating images for its website and print advertising. Supplied with computer-aided design (CAD) data for each vehicle along with environmental backplates, Patton was tasked with creating a composite rendering that accentuated the cars' curves.

At the start of the project, Patton was using 3ds Max software with mental ray and the Chaos Group V-Ray rendering engine on a CPU. But large file sizes and heavy-duty rendering requirements made for a slow workflow with each image taking about an hour to render. Believing that the NVIDIA iray rendering software could boost the efficiency of the project, Patton decided to give it a try. Patton's workstation was outfitted with NVIDIA Quadro 6000 and Tesla C2070 GPUs, each with 6 GB of memory to handle the high resolution 6K images and the 5GB of model and scene data.

Since Patton began using the NVIDIA iray solution on the Mercedes Benz project, his 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. According to NVIDIA, its iray rendering software is the first interactive, photo-realistic and physically correct rendering solution to leverage the power of NVIDIA Quadro and Tesla professional graphics processing units (GPUs).

"After I finished my first full Mercedes Benz project with the new NVIDIA setup, I was stunned," Patton said. "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."

Using NVIDIA GPU acceleration combined with the photorealistic capabilities of NVIDIA's iray software, the Mercedes Benz product visualization project not only realized faster rendering times, but achieved more detailed images as well. The final composites have the appearance of photographs that have been artistically enhanced using light and shadow to create hyper-realistic, stunning visual portrayals of some of today's most sought-after vehicles.

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