Course Description

Modern video games employ a variety of sophisticated algorithms to produce ground-breaking 3D rendering pushing the visual boundaries and interactive experience of rich environments. This course brings state-of-the-art and production-proven rendering techniques for fast, interactive rendering of complex and engaging virtual worlds of video games.

 

This year the course includes speakers from the makers of several innovative game companies, such as Ubisoft, Naughty Dog, Treyarch, id Software, Activision. Topics range from a variations on the latest techniques for temporal anti-aliasing and postprocessing methods for morphological and temporal antialiasing, precomputed global illumination for higher quality lighting, extending deferred lighting pipelines, new area lighting primitives for real-time rendering, rendering rapids in real-time, and volumetric techniques for character rendering.

 

This is the course to attend if you are in the game development industry or want to learn the latest and greatest techniques in real-time rendering domain!

 

Previous years’ Advances course slides: go here.

 


Syllabus

Advances in Real-Time Rendering in Games: Part I

Monday, 25 July, 9:00 am - 12:15 pm | Anaheim Convention Center, Ballroom A

Advances in Real-Time Rendering in Games: Part II

 

25 July, 2:00 pm - 5:15 pm | Anaheim Convention Center, Ballroom A

Prerequisites

Working knowledge of modern real-time graphics APIs like OpenGL or Direct3D and a solid basis in commonly used graphics algorithms. Familiarity with the concepts of programmable shading and shading languages. Familiarity with shipping gaming consoles hardware and software capabilities is a plus but not required.

Intended Audience

Technical practitioners and developers of graphics engines for visualization, games, or effects rendering who are interested in interactive rendering.

Advances in Real-Time Rendering in Games: Part I

 

9:00 am

Natalya Tatarchuk

Welcome and Introduction

 

9:10 am

JT Hooker (Treyarch)

Volumetric Global Illumination at Treyarch

 

10:00 am

Ramy El Garawany (Naughty Dog)

Deferred Lighting in Uncharted 4

10:35 am

Stephen Hill (Ubisoft)

Eric Heitz (Unity Technologies)

Real-Time Area Lighting: a Journey from Research to Production

 

11:05 am

Carlos Gonzalez-Ochoa (Naughty Dog)

Rendering Rapids in Uncharted 4

11:50 am

Louis Bavoil (NVIDIA)

Cyril Crassin (NVIDIA)

Aggregate G-Buffer Anti-Aliasing in Unreal Engine 4

12:15pm

Closing Q&A

Advances in Real-Time Rendering in Games: Part II

 

2:00 pm

Tatarchuk

Welcome (and Welcome Back!)

2:05 pm
Tiago Sousa (id Software)

Jean Geffroy (id Software)

The devil is in the details:  idTech 666

2:55 pm

Ke Xu (Naughty Dog)

Temporal Antialiasing in Uncharted 4   

 

3:40 pm

Jorge Jimenez (Activision)

Filmic SMAA: Sharp Morphological and Temporal Antialiasing

4:25 pm

Yibing Jiang (Naughty Dog)

The Process of Creating Volumetric-based Materials in Uncharted 4

5:15 pm
Tatarchuk

Closing Remarks

 

 

Course Organizer

Natalya Tatarchuk (@mirror2mask) is the Graphics Lead and an Engineering Architect currently working on state-of-the art cross-platform next-gen rendering engine and game graphics for Bungie’s Destiny and its future releases. Previously she was a graphics software architect and a project lead in the Game Computing Application Group at AMD Graphics Products Group (Office of the CTO) where she pushed parallel computing boundaries investigating innovative real-time graphics techniques. Additionally, she had been the lead of ATI’s demo team creating the innovative interactive renderings and the lead for the tools group at ATI Research. She has published papers and articles in various computer graphics conferences and technical book series, and has presented her work at graphics and game developer conferences worldwide. Natalya is a member of multiple industry and hardware advisory boards. She holds an MS in Computer Science from Harvard University with a focus in Computer Graphics and Bachelors of Arts degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from Boston University.

 


 

Volumetric Global Illumination at Treyarch

 

Abstract: We present a solution for indirect diffuse lighting alternative to traditional lightmaps. The primary goals were reduction of light baking times, and allowing the lighting to apply to moving objects and effects with the same quality as the environment. Our solution was to use carefully placed irradiance volumes that were baked using a unique image-based sampling approach that makes use of multiple input images. We also discuss the evolution of this idea and the many caveats and dead ends we experienced along the way.

Presenters:

JT Hooker (Treyarch)

Bios:

JT Hooker is a Senior Graphics Engineer at Treyarch. He worked on lighting and the global illumination system on Black Ops 3 and continues to devote his time to trying to make the lighting artists’ work a little easier. Prior to joining Treyarch in 2014 he worked at Volition Inc. doing rendering, tools, and AI on the Red Faction and Saints Row franchises.

 

Materials:
(Updated: August 2nd 2016)

Slides (PPTX, 36 MB)

 

 

 


 

Deferred Lighting in Uncharted 4

 

Abstract: Uncharted 4 has a wide combination of level environments, locations, and materials. Due to the architecture of current-generation consoles, a Forward+ solution becomes intractable. This presentation talks about the methods used in order to support a wide variety of materials, while still having an almost entirely deferred pipeline. The presentation will also discuss Uncharted 4’s cube-map specular occlusion technique, which is based on the solid angle of intersecting cones. The pros and cons of the Uncharted 4 deferred lighting system will be discussed, as well as what is planned for the future.

 

Presenter:

Ramy El Garawany (Naughty Dog) @ramyhg

 

Bios:

Ramy El Garawany is a graphics engineer at Naughty Dog. Previously, he worked as a rendering engineer at EA Canada.  

 

Materials:
(Updated: August 3rd, 2016)



Slides (PPTX, 46 MB)

 


Real-Time Area Lighting: a Journey from Research to Production

Abstract: Real-time area lighting has been a long-running quest in games, with many avenues (and dead ends!) explored, but recent research has provided a new route to solving this problem. That said, as developers we all know from (sometimes bitter) experience that research breakthroughs are typically not the end of the road but the beginning. With that in mind, the bulk of this talk will go step-by-step through the process of taking the reference implementation of “Real-Time Polygonal-Light Shading with Linearly Transformed Cosines” and tuning it for production use. This talk will cover numerical issues, quality improvements, and performance optimisations that provide a significant gain on current console hardware.

Presenters:

Stephen Hill (Ubisoft) @self_shadow

Eric Heitz (Unity Technologies) @eric_heitz

Bios:

Stephen Hill is a 3D Technical Lead at Ubisoft Montreal, now specialising in physically based graphics R&D at the studio. Prior to that, he was heavily involved in the creation of a new PBR system and pipeline for Assassin’s Creed Unity. He was also the 3D tech lead on Splinter Cell Conviction, during which he developed novel systems for dynamic ambient occlusion and visibility.

Eric Heitz is a graphics researcher at Unity Technologies. He works on physically based rendering with a strong focus on shading and level-of-detail techniques. Eric got his Ph.D from Grenoble University at INRIA in France.

 

Materials:

 

 


Rendering Rapids in Uncharted 4

Abstract: Water has always been a key element in Naughty Dog’s Uncharted game series. In the game, water is processed by a separate engine that handles every type of water body: from small ponds to stormy oceans. In this talk we describe the latest developments of the water engine and some solutions to produce raging river rapids in Uncharted 4.

 

We will describe how we advanced the techniques to simulate oceans and created a new integrated system to handle rivers as well. For rivers we use offline fluid simulations to inform us of the overall look of the river as well to produce data of the water surface and flow. The new system deconstructs water motion into geometric and visual elements. The geometry aspect is a composite from separate procedural components, each inexpensive to compute and animate, and are simple to control by technical artists.

 

 

Presenters:

Carlos Gonzalez-Ochoa (Naughty Dog)

Bio:

Carlos Gonzalez-Ochoa is a graphics programmer at Naughty Dog where he has worked since 2004, developing graphics systems and tools, from modeling, character animation, to effects. He has worked in all the Uncharted games and The Last of Us. Previously he worked in visual effects and animation in Sony Imageworks and Disney Feature Animation, where some of his credits include Cast Away, Reign of Fire and Chicken Little. He holds both a Masters and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Purdue University.

 

Materials:
(Updated: August 3rd, 2016)



Slides (PPTX, 143 MB)

 


 

Aggregate G-Buffer Anti-Aliasing in Unreal Engine 4

 

Abstract: In recent years, variants of Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA) have become the techniques of choice for fast post-process anti-aliasing, approximating super-sampled AA amortized over multiple frames. While TAA generally greatly improves quality over previous post-process AA algorithms, the approach can also suffer from inherent artifacts, namely ghosting and flickering, in the presence of complex sub-pixel geometry and/or sub-pixel specular highlights. In this talk, we will share our experience from implementing Aggregate G-Buffer Anti-Aliasing (AGAA) in Unreal Engine 4. AGAA approximates deferred lighting from a 4x or 8x super-sampled G-Buffer while maintaining a low shading rate per pixel (at most two lighting evaluations per pixel). This decoupling is achieved by clustering the G-Buffer samples and pre-filtering their geometric and shading attributes into pixel-space aggregates. We will start with a recap of the general benefits of normal map and surface curvature pre-filtering and detail how we have implemented them in the deferred renderer of UE4. We will then present the AGAA technique and its prerequisites in a game engine. We will describe the changes that we made to the engine to implement AGAA (clustering, on-the-fly aggregation, and resolve), the interactions with translucency and HDR lighting, and finally how temporal reprojection can be used with AGAA to further improve image quality. 

 

Presenter:

Louis Bavoil (NVIDIA) @LouisBavoil, Cyril Crassin (NVIDIA) @Icare3D

Bio:

Louis Bavoil is a Senior Developer Technology Engineer at NVIDIA, where he works with PC game developers to improve the visual quality and performance of their games. He holds a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Utah and an Engineer’s Degree from ENSEIRB (France).

 

Cyril Crassin is a Research Scientist at NVIDIA. His research interests focus on high-performance real-time rendering, including voxel-based representations, geometric pre-filtering, anti-aliasing and global illumination techniques. Cyril got his Ph.D degree from Grenoble University at INRIA in France.

 

Materials:
(Updated: August 6th, 2016)

 Slides (PPTX, 66 MB), Slides (PDF, 4 MB)

 


 

The devil is in the details:  idTech 666

Abstract: A behind-the-scenes look into the latest renderer technology powering the critically acclaimed DOOM. The lecture will cover how technology was designed for balancing a good visual quality and performance ratio. Numerous topics will be covered, among them details about the lighting solution, techniques for decoupling costs frequency and GCN specific approaches.

 

Presenters:

Tiago Sousa (id Software), Jean Geffroy (id Software)

Bio:

Tiago Sousa is id Software’s Lead Renderer Programmer, where he works on the new id Tech 6 and recently shipped the critically acclaimed DOOM. Prior to his latest venture, he worked at Crytek for over a decade, on various CryENGINE versions and games such as Far Cry and the Crysis series. You can follow him on twitter @idSoftwareTiago.

 

Jean Geffroy is a Senior Engine Programmer at id Software, where he focused on optimizing the technology behind DOOM in order to run at a smooth 60Hz on all platforms, targeting both shader micro-optimization and architectural changes. He previously worked at Crytek, developing and expanding the animation systems used in Ryse: Son of Rome and other CryENGINE games.

 

Materials:
(Updated: August 1st, 2016)

Slides (PPTX, 48 MB)

Slides (PDF, 15 MB)

 

 


 

Temporal Antialiasing in Uncharted 4  

 

Abstract: As GPUs become more powerful, many aspects of video game graphics are approaching pre-rendered CG quality. However there are still some areas that instantly give away its real time nature. Image cleanness is one of them. Anti-aliasing techniques have been used for more than a decade to create cleaner images in games, and have become fairly effective at solving certain types of aliasing such as stepping edges. Unfortunately, the recent adoption of physically based rendering among game developers made one type of unsolved aliasing even worse, namely shader aliasing. Several methods have been developed recently to solve this problem and among them, temporal anti-aliasing has shown nearly perfect results in tech demos and even been shipped in a few games, albeit with different degrees of success. Uncharted 4 is one of the first games to fully embrace temporal AA, and in this talk we will present its basic algorithms, implementation details, the problems encountered when used in a full scale AAA game with vastly different varieties of environment and their solutions, as well as some of its additional benefits to other graphical features.

 

Presenter:

Ke Xu (Naughty Dog)

Bio:

Ke Xu is a game programmer at Naughty Dog, where he primarily works on graphics programming but has also helped with tools, gameplay, UI and multiplayer programming. He joined Naughty Dog during the development of The Last Of Us in 2011, went on to help ship it and its remastered version, as well as the latest Uncharted 4. Before Naughty Dog he spent 6 years working as a programmer at Ubisoft’s Shanghai and North Carolina studios, shipping several of the Tom Clancy series of games.

 

Materials:
(Updated: August 1st, 2016)

Slides (PPTX, 200 MB)

 

 


 

Filmic SMAA: Sharp Morphological and Temporal Antialiasing

Abstract: This talk will cover Filmic SMAA, the morphological/temporal antialiasing solution used in production for some of our games. It was engineered to meet tight performance requirements (0.9-1.05ms @1080p) while at the same time delivering a sharp, stable and robust presentation. New morphological and temporal antialiasing ideas are presented to achieve those goals, with several established ideas being extended for higher quality results and/or adapted for faster runtimes. Filmic SMAA’s core principle is the same of what defined SMAA when first introduced: preserving image sharpness at all costs.

Presenter:

Jorge Jimenez (Activision) @iryoku1

Bio:

Jorge Jimenez is a real-time graphics researcher at Activision Blizzard. He received his PhD degree in real-time graphics from Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain) in 2012. His interests include real-time photorealistic rendering, special effects, and squeezing rendering algorithms to be practical in game environments. He has numerous contributions in books, journals and conferences, including the GPU Pro series, the Game Developer Magazine and the journal Transaction on Graphics. He co-organized the SIGGRAPH 2011 filtering antialiasing course, declaring open war against the jaggies. Some of his key achievements include Jimenez's MLAA, SMAA and the separable subsurface scattering technique.

 

Materials:
(Updated August 15th 2016)

Slides (PPTX, 230 MB)

 


 

The Process of Creating Volumetric-based Materials in Uncharted 4

Abstract: With hardware limitations, creating complex, volumetric-based materials like hair and fabric has always been difficult for real-time rendering. In this talk, we will present examples of different approaches that we had at the early stage of setting up the shading pipeline. We learned some of the key elements that used for character shading in animated movies, and tried to implement a similar realistic appearance in-game:

-                 Precomputation of self-shadow information for opaque and translucent materials

-                 Scattering materials with a varied range of colors

-                 High resolution of surface details

We will also cover the lessons that we learned during production of Uncharted 4, how we chose to refactor and pare down certain shading elements already implemented in order to improve the efficiency of resulting GPU techniques while maintaining comparable render quality.

Presenter:

Yibing Jiang (Naughty Dog)

Bio:

Yibing Jiang is currently a Senior Shading Artist at Naughty Dog, in charge of skin, hair, eyes, fabric and surface shading for all of the characters in Uncharted 4. Her professional experience includes projects for Naughty Dog, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Ready at Dawn Studios. Projects: Uncharted 4, The Order 1886, Wreck it Ralph, Monsters University and Cars 2. Before that, she got her Master of Fine Arts from School of Visual Arts and Master of Engineering from Wuhan University of Technology.

 

Materials:
(Updated: August 1st, 2016)

Slides (PPTX, 99MB)

 

 

 

 

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