The Devil is in the Details- How to Effectively Implement Virtual Reality in the Automotive Design Process
In previous articles you’ve likely read about the relevance and many uses of VR and AR to enhance the automotive design process. Today we’re going to talk about the machine that runs the VR applications and why it is so an integral to your success. To start, your models encompass a tremendous amount of geometry and data. The number of polygons, colors, and textures create some massive data files. In order for VR to be realistic, you need the detail residing in all that critical data. And you need to be able to manipulate your VR models with their shading and illumination at frame rates that minimize fatigue and maximize artist productivity. That is why the Autodesk partnership with Silverdraft Supercomputing delivers an integrated VRED VR solution that serves as the heartbeat of your design workflow.
Here’s an analogy for you… you want a faster Mustang. You can modify it with after-market parts to add a few horses, but what happens when you add a Supercharger but don’t have the proper suspension to handle it? You need it professionally tuned. That’s why groups like Saleen and Shelby are in business, because they know how to properly tune the entire vehicle… From the suspension, to the brakes, to the motor. There are many factors that need to be incorporated into the overall performance of the vehicle.
Back to VR… you want a machine that can deliver the real-world, jitter and lag-free 3D image of that incredible model and all the perfect lines and curves that go with it. To top that, you want to see how the light will reflect off the quarter panel, and how the stature of your model feels when you stand next to it. All these can be accomplished through VR, collaboratively with teams across the world if need be. And you have to be able to display the experience at a rock solid high frame rate so that the VR experience is smooth and comfortable. But only if you have the right engine and it’s tuned to meet your unique specifications.
Silverdraft specializes in custom-built machines for maximizing performance of VR. In the film industry picture quality is critical. The same principle applies with VR. How many people you have accessing the VR, where they are located, how your models are rendered, the software you are using, the speed of the system moving data between the SSD/CPU/GPU, and the network design can all impact the ideal configuration for your VR machine. It’s not just the GPUs that matter, it’s the entire package. And it has to be stable and reliable at speed, just like a high performance car.
VR technology is improving quickly. So you’ll also need to consider tomorrow’s needs. Today’s typical VR systems display 2K pixels per eye at 90 frames per second, with a 145-degree field of view. We are not far away from 4K displays at 120 frames per second and 210-degree field of view. These systems push a tremendous amount of data, all in the interest of making the experience as realistic and immersive as possible.
For example, ray tracing is what makes VR photorealistic; incorporating shadows, lighting and the full rendered image in an environment that allows you to see the most realistic version of your model possible. Silverdraft’s Devil slices the image, and utilizes bits from the CPU level to deliver real-time changes as your eyes wander around the VR environment. As important as GPU rendering is, full support from the CPU is required to prevent degradation in the integrity or quality of the image. It is imperative that you protect the integrity of the image, combating the law of diminishing returns.
Say you’re ready to take your design process to the next level by incorporating VR. Not only do you get the benefit of the 3D model, like you can via clay modeling, but you also get the benefit of real-time feedback as you explore how different environments can change the way your model appeals to the consumer. Taking it to the next level again- consider how you collaborate with others in your design review process. How do you engage your clients and other key players in the process? Silverdraft and Autodesk will work with you to enhance your workflow and maximize your efficiencies in this process.
The key to a successful deployment of VR in the automotive design process is collaboration. Whether that is between you and other stakeholders within your delivery chain, or between Autodesk and Silverdraft to ensure that your system is designed and optimized to handle the data you plan to push through it. Taking advantage of all that technology has to offer is essential for remaining relevant and competitive in your industry. Doing so with the proper tools and partners is very important to ensure a successful implementation and meaningful return on the investment.
For more information on our product line-up, please visit Silverdraft online at: www.silverdraft.com