31st January 2013

Imagination Technologies ships Caustic Series2 R2500 and R2100 ray tracing acceleration boards

Revolutionary affordable add-in boards bring interactive ray-traced graphics into the creative workflow


Imagination
Technologies, a leading multimedia technologies company, is now shipping its
Caustic Series2 PC boards, the R2500 and R2100, which accelerate PowerVR OpenRL
applications including the Caustic Visualizer™ viewport plug-ins for Autodesk®
Maya® and 3ds Max® and the Neon viewport in Rhinoceros 5 from Robert McNeel and Associates.

The Caustic Series2 is
the first family of high performance ray tracing accelerator PC boards using
Imagination’s unique ray tracing technologies in the world’s first chipset
dedicated to high performance, fully interactive ray tracing in a workstation
environment.

The Caustic R2500
OpenRL PC board costs just US$1495, targeting the latest high-end workstations.
The Caustic R2100 board is priced at an aggressive US$795, intended for
upgrading a wider range of mid-range and higher workstations.

Says Tony King-Smith,
VP marketing, Imagination: “Ray-traced rendering is now no longer limited to
non-real-time applications and server farms. By enabling totally interactive,
fully ray-traced viewport environments Caustic Series2 is a truly disruptive
innovation in the field of high-quality and photorealistic content generation
and revolutionizes the workflow of creative professionals.”

Says Alex Kelley, Caustic’s director of
business development: “We are thrilled to bring this kind of targeted ray
tracing hardware to the industry at an affordable price. The Caustic R2500 and
R2100 will accelerate look development for artists and designers to a level
where they can view final render results while still developing their models.
Artists and design professionals will love all of the extra time they’ll have
to be more creative.””

The Caustic R2500 and
R2100 ray tracing accelerator boards and Caustic Visualizer for Maya plug-in
are available for purchase from today at http://store.caustic.com.

For a limited period
of time both Caustic boards ship with a free copy of Caustic Visualizer for
Maya. The software-only version of the Caustic Visualizer for Maya is
separately priced at US$299. A 3ds Max Visualizer will be available in Q2 2013,
with beta trials from March 2013.

Imagination’s Caustic
R2500 and R2100 boards are qualified for relevant Dell and HP workstations
(full details of qualified systems can be found at www.caustic.com/series2/qualification).
Qualification for other systems, including Boxx, and Lenovo
is expected in Q1 2013.

Hardware for better workflow

Featuring Imagination’s
unique Caustic RT2 custom chips, the R2500 and R2100 PCIe boards set new
standards for price performance, with up to 5x acceleration (over software
alone) across popular media and CAD 3D applications, as well as significantly
lower power consumption. They are an ideal upgrade path for users wishing to
use tools such as Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max, or Robert McNeel & Associates
Rhino 5, to create stunning 3D content in a totally interactive, fully ray-traced
viewport environment.

The Caustic boards set
a new standard for affordable, high performance ray tracing and revolutionize
workflows for creative professionals. Now it is possible to immediately see the
effects of changes made without having to wait for rendering; iteration takes
moments not minutes.

Support for very large scenes

The Caustic R2100 and
R2500 boards include 4 Gigabytes and 16 Gigabytes of memory, respectively,
which is used to store scene geometry and the ray tracing acceleration
structure. Unlike most GPU solutions, shading is performed by the CPU. Shader
materials like texture maps are stored in memory on the workstation, freeing up
the ray tracing hardware to store very large models – often a requirement for
applications in CAD or film and post production

The Industry welcomes Caustic Series2

At Autodesk
University 2012, Imagination Technologies debuted their real-time, interactive
ray tracing with the Series2 ray tracing boards, which accelerate the
capabilities of Caustic Visualizer plugins for Maya and 3ds Max””, said
Robert Hoffmann, senior product marketing manager, Autodesk Media &
Entertainment. “”Our customer reaction was very positive, and we are
pleased that Maya and 3ds Max users will be among the first to be able to take
advantage of this new technology.”

“We
believe Caustic’s photorealistic ray tracing acceleration technology will
change the way artists design in the future, which is why we chose to integrate
the viewport directly into Rhino 5 as Neon,” said Bob McNeel at Robert McNeel
and Associates. “This technology combined with one of the Caustic Series2 ray
tracing acceleration cards enables designers to create content within an
interactive, fully ray traced viewport, complete with accurate lighting,
shadows and reflections. By providing users with high-quality visual feedback
from the earliest stages of modelling, potential issues can be identified and
resolved much earlier in the design cycle.”

“At
HP we are always pushing ourselves to bring new innovations into the
world, which is why we chose to feature the Caustic Visualizer and Series2
cards at ‘Rock On’ last December,” said Ron Rogers, R&D director, HP Graphics
Business Unit. “We believe this new ray tracing acceleration solution from
Imagination Technologies will change the way products are designed in the
future.  As we all take a step forward in innovation, we
are very pleased to announce we’ve certified and optimized our machines
for Imagination Technologies’ Caustic Visualizer and Caustic Series2
ray tracing acceleration boards.”

“At Dell we take pride in offering our
workstation customers leading edge and innovative technology to boost
productivity and creativity,” said Efrain Rovira, Executive Director, Dell
Precision Workstations. “The Caustic Series2 cards and Caustic Visualizer bring
new levels of interaction and visualization for 3D artists and
designers and we are proud to announce that our Dell Precision T3600,
T5600, and T7600 tower workstations helped develop and are optimized to
run these groundbreaking ray tracing and visualization solutions.”

“The
performance and workflow benefits resulting from the Caustic Visualizers
and hardware is a game changer for us at Greg Lynn FORM,” said Greg Lynn
at Greg Lynn FORM. “Being able to see shadows (sun) while making changes
to an architectural model is a very big deal! This is one of the main
reasons why designers move from digital to physical models. This benefit
alone will save us a tremendous amount of time and money. Ray tracing is
really the only way to accurately visualize the light and shadows for
interior and exterior renderings in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and
Construction) world. In the past, the design sequence was something
of a guessing game; you set up lights and textures where you might want
them and see what happens after rendering.  Using Caustic technology our
digital 3D models now have the benefit of visualizing daylight, shadow and
lighting in general from the very first digital sketches;  Caustic’s
products bring this late stage design quality to the early stages of
my design process.”

With the Caustic
Visualizer and hardware cards this is the first time I have been able to model
and ray trace simultaneously”, said president of Technolution, Max Sims. “I
can see true refractions and reflections as I design. The quality, speed and
fidelity really blow me away and frees us up to iterate at will, making product
design perfectly interactive.”

“Caustic Visualizer for Maya makes the limits of IPR (Interactive
Photorealistic Rendering) a thing of the past,” said
David Perkins, Lead Draftsman at Silent House Productions.  “We are now able to fine tune materials and
lighting directly in the Maya viewport, complete with translucency,
reflections, and soft shadows.” This has almost completely eliminated our need
to use mental ray to test material settings, Now, we only use mental ray when
our entire scene is constructed from elements that are tested using Caustic. With the Caustic hardware, we were able to
arrive at higher quality images faster. We’re also able to tumble around
texture mapped objects in near realtime, to test specularity and the material’s
reaction to light from all angles.  One
other feature that surprised us, was the ability to preview lights with a 2K
resolution image sequence mapped to its colour channel, and how well the
viewport matched final output, in terms of accuracy and quality.”

Software designed for OpenRL

Imagination’s hardware
accelerated Caustic Visualizer family of plugins brings the world’s first fully
interactive real time ray tracer to the working viewports of the industry’s
premier 3D design and animation packages. Thanks to Imagination’s unique high
performance OpenRL-based ray tracing hardware and software technologies, the
Visualizer photorealistic viewport provides far higher visual quality than 3ds
Max and Maya’s normal rendering viewports, including globally accurate
lighting, reflections and shadows within a 3ds Max, Maya or mental ray® scene.
It enables artists to identify and resolve potential problems within their
final renders from the earliest stages of modelling; minimizing the need for
time-consuming preview renders and radically streamlining the look development
process.

The Caustic Visualizer
viewport renderer interactively updates and responds to all edits in 3ds Max
and Maya including geometry, lighting and shading characteristics while
preserving their powerful interactive workflows. Selected objects in the Maya
viewport continue to have fully editable wireframes and manipulators overlaid
on the real-time ray-traced shaded preview.

Neon™ for Rhino is a fully ray-traced viewport
plug-in for Rhino 5. Developed in collaboration with Imagination Technologies, Neon™ helps a designer to quickly evaluate and establish
the form, colour, texture, lighting, and material requirements of object
components within a scene, very early on.

Neon supports all Rhino 5 rendering features
– including the sun, skylight, ground plane, standard materials, environments
and most procedural textures. In addition, Neon supports many Brazil shaders
and materials if Brazil 2.0 for Rhino is installed. (See: http://v5.rhino3d.com/group/neon)

Editor’s Notes

Technical data

R2100 Specifications:

·
Up to 50 million incoherent rays per second

·
Target workstation: Single CPU

·
Bus: PCIe x8 Gen 2.0 – single height, half length

·
Power: 30 Watts maximum, bus powered (no PCIe external power
required)

·
OS Support: Windows 7 and Vista (32-bit and 64-bit)

·
On-board memory: 4 Gbytes of scene geometry (up to 60 million
triangles)

·
System memory: same requirements as 3D application (e.g., Maya).
For optimal performance all memory channels should be fully populated

·
Ray-tracing hardware: one Caustic RTU (ray-tracing unit) chip

R2500 Specifications:

·
Up to 100 million incoherent rays per second

·
Target workstation: Dual CPU

·
Bus: PCIe x16 Gen 2.0 – single height, full length

·
Power: 65 Watts maximum, bus powered (no PCIe external power
required)

·
OS Support: Windows 7 and Vista (32-bit and 64-bit)

·
On-board memory: 16 Gbytes of scene geometry (up to 120 million
triangles)

·
System memory: same requirements as 3D application (e.g., Maya).
For optimal performance all memory channels should be fully populated

·
Ray-tracing hardware: two Caustic RTU (ray-tracing unit) chips

PowerVR Brazil SDK v1.0

Caustic Visualizer
utilizes Imagination’s PowerVR Brazil SDK v1.0, a high-level rendering software
toolkit built using OpenRL for adding photorealistic visualization into 3D
graphics applications. It is a completely new implementation of the technology
in the award-winning Brazil™ final frame renderer, designed from the ground up
to leverage Imagination’s OpenRL™ API and high performance ray tracing
technologies to deliver real-time interactivity on any platform.

OpenRL

OpenRL™ is a flexible
low-level, platform independent ray tracing API, designed to facilitate high
performance interactive ray tracing using both software and hardware
accelerated renderers . It is available today as a free SDK that includes a
software implementation running on x86 devices. It is being integrated by a
rapidly growing number of ISVs in rendering applications for a wide range of
markets, including digital content creation, film and video, games,
architecture, and industrial design. See:
http://www.imgtec.com/powervr/powervr_openrl_raytracing_technology.asp.

This cross-OS,
cross-platform API is the only ray tracing API that can support a broad and
growing range of processors, accelerators and GPUs with optimal performance.
Like OpenGL, OpenRL hides the complexities of interfacing with different
devices by presenting a single, uniform interface. A free perpetual license of
OpenRL is available for both commercial and non-commercial applications.

About Caustic Professional

Caustic Professional
is part of Imagination Technologies, a global leader in multimedia and
communications technologies. Based in San Francisco, Caustic Professional is
changing how interactive cinema-quality 3D graphics are produced, used, and
enjoyed.

Caustic Professional’s
solutions, use OpenRL API and are based on PowerVR unique and patented ray
tracing technologies, that fundamentally change the performance and cost
metrics for production quality ray traced images and animated content without
cutting corners for quality or functionality. Thanks to the cross-platform
features of OpenRL, future generations of Caustic Professional’s products will
migrate seamlessly from workstations to future generations of mobile and
embedded platforms utilizing Imagination’s future PowerVR IP cores
incorporating Imagination’s innovative ray tracing technologies.

About Imagination Technologies

Imagination
Technologies – a global leader in multimedia and communication technologies –
creates and licenses market-leading processor solutions for graphics, video,
and display, embedded processing, multi-standard communications and
connectivity, and cross-platform V.VoIP & VoLTE. These silicon and software
intellectual property (IP) solutions for systems-on-chip (SoC) are complemented
by an extensive portfolio of software drivers, developer tools and extensive
market and technology-focused ecosystems. Target markets include mobile phone
and multimedia, connected home consumer, mobile and tablet computing, in-car
electronics, telecoms, health, smart energy and connected sensors and
controllers. Imagination’s licensees include many of the world’s leading
semiconductor, network operator and electronics OEM/ODM companies. Corporate
headquarters are located in the United Kingdom, with sales and R&D offices
worldwide. See: www.imgtec.com

Press Contact

David Harold, Director of PR,
Imagination Technologies,
david.harold@imgtec.com      +44 (0)1923 260 511


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