Pictured: Chaos Group’s Lon Grohs talking at the packed Chaos Group Down Under tour in Melbourne
For the first time in their 10 year history 3D software plugin developers Chaos Group decided to head down under. They sent two people, Ms Anna Ladulova from their home in Sofia, Bulgaria and Mr Lon Grohs from the semi-recent expansion into the USA. Their goals were simple, to speak to as many customers as possible and chat with them about how they use their now famous and ever improving V-Ray renderer and to get feedback on what future features they would like to see in the future.
With Sydney and Melbourne being the only cities lucky enough to host the afternoon events, some did travel from other states just for the chance to finally meet them. Sydney’s event was well received though was unfortunately marred by an unexpected nasty turn of the weather on the day. Luckily Melbourne decided to open up the gloomy clouds of May and let some glorious sunshine in (Editors note: even though we were still in a room with all the windows closed, it was nice to know the sun was out for once!
Attendance was great - over 90 people registered for the final show with nearly 60 attending. Much more than is typically seen. Thanks to the venue we could cater for the extra who came
After the MC opened up, Lon took us through a presentation roughly aligned with their own history, fielding questions deftly from the audience as he went from visualisation to more recent VFX scenes with most of the stunning content kindly provided by some of their more interesting clients who made V-Ray an integral part of their render pipelines.
Digital Domain featured strongly on the VFX side of things with content from films likeTron Legacy and Real Steel. They featured content for an inspiring ad for Audi Automotive too.Lon also showed content from the Feature Film Hugo which used V-Ray as an integral part of Pixomondo’s pipeline. He discussed the value of using V-RayRT’s “real time” mode to assist with blazingly fast previews during scene creation. This has particular impact on look development workflow where constant tweaks to lighting and materials are required which ultimately saves users time and money.
Obviously this is relative to the type of hardware you run in the system to preview on.
Lon’s workstation, a laptop - if you could call it that, whose duty it was to process these renders was a monster of a Boxx. When he unleashed it from his backpack it resembled the old “luggable” workstations of the x286 era late in the 80’s. The PSU alone was as big as a carton of eggs. It had more fans than Collingwood! Not surprisingly with an nVidia FX5010M 4GB GPU and Intel® Core™ i7, Core™ i7 Extreme Processor you would need some decent fannage!
He spoke on the value of having the right hardware to run V-Ray for Max and Maya in the pipeline.
With the recent addition of CUDA support to a traditionally OpenCL only V-Ray RT he recommended using recent GPUs from the nVidia Quadro or Tesla families to best increase responsiveness. Lon was clear to point out that even though V-Ray performs better on CUDA cards OpenCL is still fully supported for ATI users.
With the latest version of V-RayRT you are now able to allocate which GPU is to be used for aiding in performance. If you have access to multiple GPU cards, for example, you can have a Quadro 6000, Tesla C2075 in the Main unit then attach an expansion chassis to add another 4 CUDA GPU cards to provide realtime preview capabilities in full HD resolutions on some scenes
As fast as his system was he often brought up the new Tesla K10 card which has as many as 3072 GPU cores, a 7 fold increase over the one he was demonstrating This is a trend he expects will continue in the future, enabling even more capabilities like the real 3D motionblur enabled by the last jump.
With this in mind we would recommend any customer who is looking at GPU to focus squarely on the CUDA based cards for future proofing their systems and to take advantage of growth in this area.
As the event covering users from all backgrounds of Visualisation and VFX drew to a close, everyone cheered and thanked Chaos for taking the long journey to OZ.
Overall it was great to see that V-Ray has become so relevant in so many different fields of design and production. We can’t wait to see what they do next, they are welcome back anytime they want!