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Understanding Ray tracing

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Well, it’s finally happened: Nvidia has announced its latest RTX series, featuring the impressive and powerful 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti. We all expected that it was coming. What we didn’t know was just how excited our inner-gamers would be.

The latest graphics cards offer titanic leaps beyond their previous GTX series, all with an array of shiny new perks. And there’s a certain phrase that may have caught your eye; a new feature that is about to transcend the visuals of your games.

Say hello to ray tracing.

Ray tracing explained

Ray tracing is a prime feature of RTX 2070’s and 2080’s that Nvidia are not afraid to show off. This feature of the latest hardware is about to transcend your visual gaming.

But what is ray tracing, Nvidia?

While graphics technology can typically be rather complicated to explain, ray tracing as a concept is simple to understand; the name literally says it all.

Ray tracing is a rendering technique. Similar to how light moves in reality by bouncing off of objects and into our eyes, ray tracing creates a graphical image within a game by tracing the path of millions of simulated lights, each particle of light materialising on a game’s objects and bouncing back to the viewer’s character’s point of origin to determine the properties of the image – from a vivid reflection to a sheet of shadows.

This highly advanced visualising technique means that ray tracing is likely to replace the traditional rendering of lighting effects in games, leading to a superior depiction of realistic lighting that borrows from how light travels in the real world.

Traditionally, ray tracing has demanded a significant amount of power from your hardware to operate at a worthy capacity. Until now. Enter Nvidia’s RTX 20 series of graphics cards.  

Tracing the origins of ray tracing

A great renaissance man once perched on a rock and pondered, ‘How did ray tracing come to be?’

Well, that didn’t directly happen, but if Michelangelo had been around during the press launch of Nvidia’s RX graphics card range then it probably would have gone down like that. Imagine what the Sistine Chapel would look like with ray tracing powering every beam of light between the clouds.

To go back a little more forward in time to ray tracing’s origins, we must go to a much less renaissance time of 1969 when IBM’s Arthur Appel considered the abilities of computers to trace a ray of light in the same way that a human eye does.

Cut to 10 years later, scientist (and future Nvidia Researcher) Turner Whitted released his paper on improving the illumination for the shaded display of virtual environments. Ray tracing was officially born, sprouting from expert concepts into a very real innovation.

From then on, it has been nothing but advancements for the rendering technique. Mainly reserved for multi-million-dollar Hollywood epics, ray tracing is now taking its first bounds into our homes in the brilliant format of Nvidia’s RTX 20 series graphics cards.

How will Ray tracing change my gaming?

As previously mentioned, ray tracing is about to transcend the lighting effects of your games. This will create highly immersive realms that will make you feel as if you are stepping through an alternative slice of reality, changing entire environments.

Better images can now be produced at lower production costs by developers. This is far beyond a conventional tweak to our graphics. This is changing the way that games are produced and how developers immerse us into the experience of their game with striking visuals.

Watch the Battlefield V RTX Real-Time Ray Tracing demo below:

Still, please be aware that this is a budding technology in the home gaming market. In order to assemble a PC that can fully utilise the beauty of ray tracing, you are looking at spending a few thousand on components. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get excited about it.

Nvidia’s innovations in their latest GPU’s with the technology means that we are one step closer to deeply immersive gaming experiences. Nvidia’s RTX 20 series graphics cards can be found on our website, check them out and see if they are the graphics card to make your gaming rig a gaming PC of the future!

Get ready to go to the next level in gaming.