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Chaos Reveals Project Arena, Alternative to Game Engines for Virtual Production

The new toolset enables the moving of 3D scenes quickly from industry-standard creation tools onto LED screens without the slow data conversion process.

Chaos unveiled Project Arena, its upcoming toolset, which will offer studios an alternative to game engines for virtual production. The toolset enables artists to move V-Ray assets and animations to LED walls in around 10 minutes, accessing production ray tracing with pipelines they know.

“Game engines helped kickstart a revolution, but many in the VFX industry still can't access it,” said James Blevins, co-founder of MESH and former post-production supervisor of The Mandalorian. “Project Arena takes an essential part of the VFX toolkit, ray tracing, and makes it available in a virtual production volume, straight from Maya, Houdini, or 3ds Max. No faking, no baking — just something that puts an artist's work directly on the wall."

With off-the-shelf NVIDIA hardware and ray reconstruction technology, Project Arena helps studios quickly move 3D scenes from industry-standard creation tools onto LED screens, bypassing the slow data conversion process. Artists build their assets, bring a V-Ray-authored scene into Project Arena, and they are ready to start their virtual shoots. Because these tools are production-ready, artists can continue to utilize the same assets throughout the process (from pre to post), with no do-overs or drops in quality.

Project Arena results are fully ray-traced and can handle an immense amount of geometry. Recent tests have seen a quarter of a trillion polygons running at 60fps on a single GPU, which Chaos hopes to improve with the addition of more shader types. Martini Giant’s Daniel Thron and Erick Schiele, alongside cinematographer Richard Crudo, MESH’s James Blevins, and line producer Debbie Kennard, are testing the technology during the production of its new short.

"Project Arena represents a huge step forward for cinematographers by allowing us to do our jobs more creatively, quickly, and efficiently,” said Crudo. “It delivers a much more precise method of accomplishing what up to now has been a generally cumbersome task. My eyes are always the final judge of what I'm doing, and my experience with it thus far has been thoroughly convincing. It's destined to become the standard for all volume and LED wall work."

Watch: Behind the Scenes of Project Arena

Project Arena is Chaos Innovation Lab’s most recent announcement following last month’s AI news. The Lab, established to accelerate Chaos’ tool production, shares its research in offline and real-time rendering, machine learning, and AI with the broader worldwide industry.

The Chaos Innovation Lab is currently seeking production feedback on Project Arena. If interested, contact the Lab via the form on the Project Arena page.

Source: Chaos

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.