RenderAnts: Interactive Reyes Rendering on GPUs

We present RenderAnts, the first system that enables interactive

REYES rendering on GPUs. Taking RenderMan scenes and

shaders as input, our system first compiles RenderMan shaders to

GPU shaders. Then all stages of the basic REYES pipeline, including

bounding/splitting, dicing, shading, sampling, compositing

and filtering, are executed on GPUs using carefully designed dataparallel

algorithms. Advanced effects such as shadows, motion blur

and depth-of-field can be also rendered with our system. In order

to avoid exhausting GPU memory, we introduce a novel dynamic

scheduling algorithm to bound the memory consumption during

rendering. The algorithm automatically adjusts the amount of data

being processed in parallel at each stage so that all data can be

maintained in the available GPU memory. This allows our system

to maximize the parallelism in all individual stages of the pipeline

and achieve superior performance. We also propose a multi-GPU

scheduling technique based on work stealing so that the system can

support scalable rendering on multiple GPUs. The scheduler is designed

to minimize inter-GPU communication and balance workloads

among GPUs.

We demonstrate the potential of RenderAnts using several complex

RenderMan scenes and an open source movie entitled Elephants

Dream. Compared to Pixar’s PRMan, our system can generate images

of comparably high quality, but is over one order of magnitude

faster. For moderately complex scenes, the system allows the user

to change the viewpoint, lights and materials while producing photorealistic

results at interactive speed.

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In  ACM Transactions on Graphics

Publisher  Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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