Rendering Research at Weta Digital
The company culture at Weta Digital calls for artists to push scene complexity and image quality to their limits with each new production. It’s the job of the rendering research team to make sure the rendering resources and technology enable, support and often invite this passionate pursuit of perfection. Head of Rendering Research Luca Fascione will cover the inspiration, advancements and occasional missteps over the last decade that led to the creation of Weta’s new path-tracing production renderer Manuka. He’ll also give some insight into some of the open challenges that are currently being pursued as well as a few future ones.
Luca Fascione is Head of Rendering Research at Weta Digital, where he leads the activity of research around rendering algorithms and material modeling. He joined Weta in 2004 and has also worked for Pixar Animation Studios. The rendering group’s software, including PantaRay and Manuka, has been supporting the realization of large scale productions such as Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin, the Planet of the Apes films and the Hobbit trilogy.
Game Rendering: Past, Present… and Future?
This presentation will describe my personal (in)experiences over 10+ years of working on rendering in the videogame industry, current trends, and some wild predictions about the future. The bulk of the talk will cover a selection of R&D challenges and eventual solutions from the games I’ve worked on – Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Conviction, and Assassin’s Creed: Unity – as well as techniques that didn’t work in practice due to production constraints.Throughout the presentation, I will cite academic research that has influenced my thinking – as well as the industry at large – and how it has been applied in practice. I also hope to relate, through the various examples, the exciting and unique “problem space” that videogames provide.
Stephen Hill is a 3D Technical Lead at Ubisoft Montreal, now specialising in physically based graphics R&D at the studio. Previously, he was heavily involved in the creation of a new physically based rendering system and pipeline for Assassin’s Creed Unity over the course of its three-year development. He was also the 3D tech lead on Splinter Cell Conviction, during which he developed novel systems for dynamic ambient occlusion and visibility.