Caustic Graphics has released CausticRT, touted as the only massively accelerated raytracing system for achieving interactive, movie-quality 3D computer graphics. The Caustic development platform, which includes a raytracing accelerator card and SDK, is now available to qualified developers so they can port their 3D applications to Caustic and deliver fast, efficient raytracing to their customers.
CausticRT is based on a breakthrough algorithm that addresses the issue that has hindered raytracing and prevented its widespread adoption among software developers and the artists and designers that use their 3D tools. When light rays are scattered in many directions (incoherent rays), tracing and shading them requires access to disparate parts of the scene, a previously unattainable caching task. The new Caustic raytracing system thrives on the incoherent rays in a complex scene and organizes them into a data flow that takes advantage of the full computational power of CPUs and GPUs.
The release of CausticRT includes the CausticOne raytracing accelerator card and the CausticGL programming API. CausticGL is a programming API based on Open GL. CausticOne is an optional co-processor that works with CausticGL. It unlocks the ability of your GPU/CPU to efficiently shade and allows it to render stunning 3D imagery 20 times faster than it can today. A supporting SDK includes documentation, access to the support portal and knowledgebase and a one-year subscription to hardware and software updates and technical support.
The first product being ported to Caustic is Brazil from SplutterFish. Caustic Graphics recently acquired Splutterfish in order to fully demonstrate Caustic implemented in a production renderer and allow the company to document and streamline the process for other developers. Brazil is currently implemented in 3ds Max, Rhinoceros 3D and as a standalone renderer. It will support CausticRT intime for the release of the next raytracing accelerator card, due early next year.
Caustic told VFXWORLD that CausticTwo & CausticGL SDK will be available to end users via OEMs and Caustic resellers, at a fraction of the cost and offering 14 times the performance of CausticOne.
"It is important to note that CausticRT does not displace a GPU or CPU in a graphics system," said James McCombe, co-founder and CTO of Caustic Graphics. "Rather it acts as a co-processor that traces rays and schedules the results in a manner that allows GPUs or CPUs to shade them as efficiently as they do with rasterization. It's also important to note that CausticRT is not a renderer. We are working with a growing developer community to create and port their new and existing graphics applications, so that artists and designers can truly take advantage of the photorealism and visual effects that make raytracing so compelling over rasterization."
The CausticRT platform is $4,000 and includes CausticGL, a CausticOne card and one-year of firmware and software updates. In addition, developers may purchase a one-year subscription for $2,500 that includes support for up to 10 incidents. Also available is CausticEngage, a consulting services program for developers that want additional support in creating or porting their application to CausticRT. All are available now at www.caustic.com.
-- By Senior Editor Bill Desowitz