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Epic Games and Weta Digital have teamed up to create a truly stunning real-time animation showing what modern-day GPUs can do when pushed to the absolute limit. The short animation, created using Unreal Engine, shows off the new Hair & Fur Rendering and Simulation tool, and the results are near-indistinguishable from real life.
As reported by DSO Gaming, Weta Digital made use of an NVIDIA GeForce RTX3090, rendering the impressive short in real-time. It's also worth noting, however, that the animation only features two animals rolling around a pretty barebones environment, so it's unlikely that we'll be seeing this kind of photorealistic animal nonsense in next-gen games. At least not for the next few years, anyway.
At any rate, it's super impressive and you can see it for yourself below, or via this link. Epic Games will be releasing the new Hair & Fur Rendering and Simulation tool in Unreal Engine 4.26, so any developers interested in playing around with this should look out for that.
This isn't the first time we've seen a taste of what Epic is cooking up with the Unreal Engine, of course. Earlier this year we were all dazzled by a first-look at Unreal Engine 5 during a sublime PlayStation 5 tech demo that gave us a glimpse at what next-gen is capable of.
According to an Epic press release that was sent around with the demo, the two big new features that developers can utilise with UE5 are the engine's Nanite and Lumen systems. Nanite, we're told, allows developers to make use of a "virtualized micropolygon geometry. Epic explained that "film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine -- anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data".
Lumen, meanwhile, is "a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes." In other words, it makes for some truly stunning-looking lighting. Of course there's a little more to it than that, though. It essentially works out - in real time- the lighting dynamics of a scene. This means it's able to react to any changes in the environment, such as turning a light on or using a flashlight.
Combining techniques such as these with the impressive new Hair & Fur Rendering and Simulation tool should lead to some pretty incredible-looking games. Bring on the future, I say.
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