Computer Graphics World

April-May-June 2024

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26 cgw a p r i l • m ay • j u n e 2 0 2 4 c haos recently unveiled Project Arena, an upcoming toolset that offers studios a faster, simple alternative to game engines for virtual production. With Project Arena, artists can move V-Ray assets and animations to LED walls in around ten minutes, ac- cessing production ray tracing with pipelines they know and trust. Emphasizing accessibility "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. "Proj- ect 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." Utilizing 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 without a costly/slow data conversion process. Artists simply build their assets, bring a V-Ray-authored scene into Project Arena, and they are ready to start their virtual shoots. And because these tools are production-ready, those artists can continue to utilize the same as- sets throughout the process (from pre to post), with no do-overs or drops in quality. Worldwide testing Because its results are fully ray-traced, Project Arena can handle an immense amount of geometry. Recent tests have already 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. These tests are currently being conducted on virtual production stages around the world while working on a new short that's being created with Martini Giant's Daniel Thron and Erick Schiele, cinema- tographer Richard Crudo, MESH's James Blevins, line producer Deb- bie Kennard, and some surprise guests. The film will not only serve as a way to test this new technology, but a chance to make a comment on how technology oen stands in the way of live-action filmmaking. "Project Arena represents a huge step forward for cinematogra- phers by allowing us to do our jobs more creatively, quickly, and ef- ficiently," said Richard Crudo, six-term past-president of the Amer- ican Society of Cinematographers. "It delivers a much more precise method of accomplishing what up to now has been a generally cum- bersome 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." innovation in progress Project Arena is the latest news coming out of the Chaos Innovation Lab, following a set of recent AI announcements. The Innovation Lab was designed to not only accelerate the production of Chaos tools, but to share ideas and research about offline and real-time render- ing, machine learning, and AI with the wider world. The Chaos Innovation Lab is currently seeking production feed- back on Project Arena. To influence where it goes next or learn more about its current capabilities, contact the Chaos Innovation Lab via the form on the Project Arena page: chaos.com/virtual-production More about Chaos Founded in 1997, Chaos is a leading global visualization technology company. Headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany, the company has nearly 800 employees and offices in 11 cities worldwide. Chaos is defining visualization by offering accessible tools, simpli- fying and accelerating workflows, and empowering visual storytelling for artists, architects, designers, and other creative professionals. The company's portfolio of visualization technologies for archi- tecture and design, media and entertainment, and product e-com- merce includes: V-Ray, a physically based renderer that has been honored with an Academy Award and an Engineering Emmy; En- scape, a high-quality real-time rendering and virtual reality plugin; Corona, a high-performance photorealistic rendering engine; Cylin- do, a 3D furniture product visualization platform for e-commerce; and Anima, a 3D/4D animation soware to add realistic people and crowds to visualizations. OUTLOOK PROJECT ARENA: EXPLORING THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL PRODUCTION A SIMPLE ALTERNATIVE TO GAME ENGINE-BASED PRODUCTION WORKFLOWS.

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