SIGGRAPH 2014: Nvidia Unveils Next Generation Quadro GPUs

Visual effects and animation workflows — and the technology to make them more powerful, flexible and cost-efficient — are a focus of attention as SIGGRAPH 2014 opens its exhibit floor this week to computer graphics and tech professionals in Vancouver. Nvidia’s next gen Quadro processors, announced this morning, are indicative of tools and technology designed to handle greater complexity and higher resolution; incorporate cloud services; and access projects remotely, often via mobile devices.

“The next generation of Quadro GPUs not only dramatically increases graphics and compute performance to handle huge data sets. It extends the concept of visual computing from a graphics card in a workstation to a connected environment,” said Jeff Brown, VP of professional visualization at Nvidia. “The new Quadro lineup lets users interact with their designs or data locally on a workstation, remotely on a mobile device or in tandem with cloud-based services.”


According to the press release, the new generation of Quadro GPUs — the K5200, K4200, K2200, K620 and K420 — enables users to:

  • Interact with data sets or designs up to twice the size handled by previous generations.
  • Remotely interact with graphics from a Quadro-based workstation from essentially any device, including PCs, Macs and tablets.
  • Run major applications — such as Adobe CC, Autodesk Design Suite and Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS 2014 — on average 40 percent faster than with previous Quadro cards.
  • Switch effortlessly from local GPU rendering to cloud‐based offerings using Nvidia iray rendering.

Nvidia previewed some of the new processing power earlier this summer at a special presentation at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Pickford Center. The demonstrations emphasized a “creator focused” model that brings visual computing right onto the live-action production set. The result is a visual effects and animation process that brings computer graphics talent and filmmakers together in real-time.

The advance look showed what could be a significant shift in the visual effects and animation production process. Today, most visual effects and animation shots are created in a process similar to an assembly line. Shots move from one artist to another as it progresses through its production.

Then, if a change needs to be made based on feedback from a supervisor or a director, the shot goes back through the steps. Imagine if the key artists on a team — the lighter, the texture painter, the animator and the compositor, for example — could all work together in much the same way that the grips, electricians, cinematographers and actors work together on a live-action set. This is part of what Nvidia’s visual computing appliance, iray enables.

Nvidia describes iray as “the world’s first GPU accelerated and physically correct, photo-realistic rendering solution. When combined with the parallel processing power of the latest Nvidia GPUs, iray achieves interactive speeds that dramatically reduce the iterative creative process of perfecting a scene. Unlike most production renderers, iray delivers results that reflect real-world behaviors, liberating designers from needing expert knowledge of computer graphics techniques to achieve photo-realistic results.”

According to Nvidia, “the iray ‘push-button’ rendering approach marries ease of use during scene setup with the highest quality photorealistic final frame output and interactive performance. Iray also progressively refines the image until maximum fine detail is reached, providing a single process which combines interactive pre-visualization and final frame rendering.”

Additional announcements from other leading hardware and software companies are expected throughout the week as SIGGRAPH continues.

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