Nvidia Ray-Tracing Technology a Quantum Leap in Rendering

At SIGGRAPH 2018, Nvidia debuted its new Turing architecture featuring ray tracing, a kind of rendering, for professional and consumer graphics cards. Considered the Holy Grail by many industry pros, ray tracing works by modeling light in real time as it intersects with objects. Ray tracing is ideal for creating photorealistic lighting and VFX. Up until now, ray tracing has not been possible to do because it requires an immense amount of expensive computing power, but Nvidia’s professional Turing card costs $10,000. Continue reading Nvidia Ray-Tracing Technology a Quantum Leap in Rendering

Facebook in Pursuit of Interactive Video With Vidspresso Deal

Facebook struck a deal with Utah-based Vidpresso to acquire its technology and absorb its seven-person team, without actually buying the company. Vidpresso’s website says that the new partnership will help put its tools in the hands of creators. Founded in 2012 to “make video more like HTML,” Vidpresso allows publishers to incorporate interactive graphics and superimposed captions to encourage viewers to respond to polls or ask questions. BuzzFeed, Nasdaq, NBC, TED, Turner Sports and Univision are among its customers. Continue reading Facebook in Pursuit of Interactive Video With Vidspresso Deal

HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

HTC’s new Vive Pro VR headset made a major splash this week in Las Vegas and received notable Best of CES awards, including the Best Gaming Product from Engadget and the Best VR/AR award from The Verge. HTC added built-in headphones to this version and increased the resolution of the dual-OLED displays 78 percent to 2,880 x 1,600 (1,400 x 1,600 per eye). The headphones offer spatial audio support, but no noise-canceling functionality. HTC added dual microphones and dual front-facing cameras, which should attract developers. Continue reading HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

Unity, Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp Partner on Creative Project

Game engine Unity and filmmaker Neill Blomkamp (“Elysium,” “District 9”) have partnered to create a more fleshed out version of “Adam,” a short proof-of-concept film that Unity released to show off its Cinemachine movie creation tools. At the same time, Unity debuted a new version of Cinemachine, software that allows users to direct their own CG films. Blomkamp is an ideal partner, having just launched his own studio, Oats, and released three videos (“Rakka,” “Firebase,” “Zygote”) and other shorter projects. Continue reading Unity, Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp Partner on Creative Project

Adobe Experiments With Easy Object Removal Tool for Video

Adobe’s research team is working on a visual effects tool, codenamed Cloak, for easy and economical removal of rigs, power lines and other unwanted parts of an image. The tool is similar to Photoshop’s content-aware fill feature that lets the user select and delete unwanted elements in the image, with “intelligent” software filling in the missing background behind them. Doing the same thing with video, however, is more challenging, which is why Cloak is still in an experimental stage, with no release date slated. Continue reading Adobe Experiments With Easy Object Removal Tool for Video

Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Game developer Enhance Games announced the availability of “Rez Infinite” for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets, now accessible via Steam and the Oculus store. The VR version of the popular game debuted on PlayStation VR late last year and was quickly the top-rated VR title on Metacritic. “The game has collected more than 40 awards, including Best VR Game Winner at The Game Awards 2016,” reports VentureBeat. Enhance commissioned indie studios Monstars and Resonair to make the new VR versions of the game. Continue reading Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Discovery Moves TV and Business Systems Into AWS Cloud

By the end of 2017, Discovery Communications will have shifted the processing of all its U.S. TV programs and 80 percent of its business systems from its own data centers to the public cloud. Last week, the company distributed Discovery Life and Destination America, among the smallest of its 13 U.S. channels, via Amazon Web Services. By doing so, Discovery is moving away from its reliance on pricey satellite networks and enabling more flexible programming, says the company chief technology officer John Honeycutt. Continue reading Discovery Moves TV and Business Systems Into AWS Cloud

Microsoft Xbox One X Console Offers 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos

Microsoft’s next videogame console, the Xbox One X, is its smallest gaming console ever, with advanced capabilities in power, speed and resolution, offering true 4K. The new console will be compatible with games made for the Xbox One and Xbox 360, which will benefit from the Xbox One X’s increased speed and improved resolution and graphics. The new console, which also features HDR (high dynamic range) playback and Dolby Atmos sound, will go on sale November 7th for $499. Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro debuted in November for $399. Continue reading Microsoft Xbox One X Console Offers 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos

CES: Glance Clock Provides New Uses for a Familiar Object

Glance Clock offers a visual solution for dealing with daily information overload. The stylish modern clock is linked by Bluetooth for proximity response or Wi-Fi for building wide connections to mobile phones. The device highlights select information as it updates on a smartphone or digital assistant. Calendars break down the day in colorful graphics on the clock face. Users can highlight notifications about to-do items and important events, anniversaries and more. Weather forecasts are announced by colorful animations and related details. As a direct indication of wider scale ambient reach, it also can display responses from Alexa or announce an Uber arrival with visuals and sounds. Continue reading CES: Glance Clock Provides New Uses for a Familiar Object

Nvidia CEO Announces Cloud-Based GeForce NOW Platform

During his CES keynote, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced the launch of his company’s GeForce NOW streaming platform for PCs, “basically a GeForce gaming PC on demand,” explained Huang. The cloud-based gaming service will launch in March for $25 dollars per 20 hours of gameplay. The service will provide Mac and PC users who might not have the graphics capabilities to play high-end games an option to virtually play any modern game. The new approach should not rely on game company support the way OnLive worked before its demise. For example, Huang demonstrated the Steam store running on GeForce NOW. Continue reading Nvidia CEO Announces Cloud-Based GeForce NOW Platform

Razer Purchases THX with Plans for VR and Global Expansion

Razer, which develops hardware and services for the gaming world, announced this week that it is acquiring THX from Creative Labs, with plans to run the iconic audio company (founded by filmmaker George Lucas in 1983) as an independent subsidiary with a focus on overseas expansion and new device areas such as VR headsets. THX is expected to continue operating under current management, led by CEO Ty Ahmad-Taylor. Razer, run by CEO Min-Liang Tan and valued at $1.5 billion, also acquired gaming startup Ouya last year. Financial terms of the THX deal have not been disclosed. Continue reading Razer Purchases THX with Plans for VR and Global Expansion

Game Engines Are Now Entrée to Better Titles, Faster Delivery

With its game engine, Electronic Arts can apply code created for one game to another new game. EA has evolved its engine, now integrating the features of a dozen into a single game engine, dubbed Frostbite, which was used most recently to create the title “FIFA 17.” Now, Facebook, Amazon and other tech companies are also interested in game engines, which can handle graphics and physics as well as save time and money on R&D, and open doors to development in new media markets such as virtual reality. Continue reading Game Engines Are Now Entrée to Better Titles, Faster Delivery

Sony to Unveil Two PlayStation 4s: 4K Pro and Smaller Version

Sony plans to debut a high-end console, PlayStation 4 Pro (formerly “Neo”). Set to ship November 10 for $399, PlayStation 4 Pro will boast a faster processor, more storage, and 4K graphics. Sony will also release a more energy-efficient, 30 percent smaller PlayStation 4, to go on sale September 15 for $299. This console replaces the original PlayStation 4, which debuted November 2013 at $399. All PlayStation 4 consoles will be able to play back high dynamic range images, including, via a software update, older PlayStations. Continue reading Sony to Unveil Two PlayStation 4s: 4K Pro and Smaller Version

Best Buy Bets Big on Virtual Reality with First Mainstream Test

Best Buy is going all out to promote sales of the Oculus Rift and Sony PlayStation VR, with what’s regarded as the first mainstream test of VR products. The Oculus Rift demonstrations, which began their rollout in May, will be in 500 stores in time for the holiday season, with an added 200 demonstrations for PlayStation VR starting in October. The genesis of the push to VR began with chief executive Hubert Joly, who had a “mind-boggling” VR experience with a man-eating shark. He’s betting the U.S. public will be equally smitten. Continue reading Best Buy Bets Big on Virtual Reality with First Mainstream Test

The Wolfe Aims to Turn MacBooks into Virtual Reality Players

Apple’s laptops may not have the power to run many virtual reality experiences, but an upcoming Kickstarter campaign aims to change that. The Wolfe offers an external Thunderbolt-connected GPU as a simple solution for supercharging laptops. According to its creators, The Wolfe increases the MacBook Pro’s GPU processing capabilities up to ten times. The form factor is a tidy, largish box housing an Nvidia GPU that is currently the baseline for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Early Kickstarter backers will get one for $399. Continue reading The Wolfe Aims to Turn MacBooks into Virtual Reality Players

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