This is a picture from the Ruby demo. It looks photorealistic, but is realtime and interactive.
A high quality video (720p) of the animation can be seen hereLow quality video here
The Ruby demo was made by a company named Otoy. Jules Urbach, founder and CEO of Otoy, has given some info on the technology behind the Ruby demo in several video's on the net:
Video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROAJMfeRGD4&feature=related
In this video, Urbach says that the Ruby demo is rendered with voxel ray tracing. Otoy can also dynamically relight the scene.
The full transcript of the video:
The first time I saw this video, the words "ray tracing" and "voxels" immediately grabbed my attention. So I did some further research...
Rick Bergman: So Jules, this is his creation. He's done a fantastic job with it. You're probably also thinking, well this is a video. He's gonna step you through and actually talk you some of the key features of this demo.
Jules Urbach: Thank you, Rick. What you're seeing here, is a frame from the animation you just saw, done Cinema 2.0 style. So the first thing you'll notice is that this isn't really just a video, we can look around, we can see the set that we've built, in fact it is, it's a set, you can see it's really ... When we first showed the clips of
what we were doing with this, some people thought the street scene was film, and it's not, it's a completely computer generated scene, created by our art team. And you can see here, this is the relighting portion of the rendering pipeline,this is really just a very early teaser, a preview of what we're doing with this Ruby demo.
So you're seeing only the second half of the Cinema 2.0 rendering pipeline, the
relighting portion of it. I can drag the cursor over any object and I can sort of see the different layers that go into making it whether it's global illumination, photon maps, diffuse lighting or in this case, complete control over the scene and the reflections.
And this is a really novel way of rendering graphics, we're not using any polygons. And the thing that makes this very different from just a simple relighting demo, is that every single pixel you're seeing in the scene has depth and it's essentially renderable as voxels.
We also have the capability of controlling every aspect of the exposure in the lighting pipeline, adding glares and glints to our satisfaction. And that makes a big impact in the rendering of any scene that we're doing.
So one of the things that is key to doing voxel based rendering is ray tracing, which I spoke about earlier, and the other element is compression, because these data sets are enormous. One of the things that's very exciting about the latest generation of hardware, coming from AMD, is that we can now write general purpose code, using CAL, that does wavelet compression. So we're able to compress these data sets, which are pretty massive, down to very reasonable components. And we think that we can stream those down and essentially give people, who have ever seen a video stream of that animation, essentially a fully navigable, relightable, completely interactive scene and that's the ... of 2.0 and we're very excited to be able to be part of that technology and that processing and bringing that to fruition.