Nvidia’s Convincing Unreality

Hardware

When I read the book Ready Player One, I really got excited about the future of virtual reality, but the movie really didn’t do the book justice. Some blockbusters have succeeded in interspersing computer graphics with real people and making it hard to tell the difference. Still, a totally rendered movie still looks like animation and you just don’t get the film quality you get from, well, film.

This was disappointing in particular with the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which was all done with actors in front of blue screens and rendered. I read the book, but the animation quality of the movie really detracted from the story. An earlier film, The Last Starfighter, was even worse. It’s another example of a decent story being ruined by the fact that the technology just wasn’t up to the task at the time. (By the way, everyone and their brother apparently wants to remake this film but getting the rights to it has proven daunting).

Well, Nvidia last week announced its new Quadro RTX cards, which appear to have the horsepower needed to make movies like Sky Captain and Last Starfighter real. In fact, it actually could just re-render those movies and, for a tiny fraction of a remake, turn them into Netflix or Amazon Prime stars.

This technology goes beyond that, though. It is so good you may not be able to tell what is real and what is unreal.

This is actually one of the biggest things to happen in tech. I’ll explain and then close with my product of the week: an impressive professional VR headset from StarVR.

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