Nvidia renders Final Fantasy graphics in real time

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Graphics chip maker Nvidia Corp. supports the Mac market by providing Apple with GeForce2 MX and GeForce3 graphics hardware. Although the company's Quadro workstation graphics chip isn't available for the Macintosh, it was the centerpiece today of an impressive technology demonstration at the SIGGRAPH 2001 trade show in Los Angeles.

Nvidia showed graphics from the recently released computer-animated motion picture, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, displayed on a workstation equipped with Quadro-based graphics hardware. What made the demonstration impressive is that the graphics were being rendered in real time -- a new frame was generated every 4/10ths of a second, compared with the 90 minutes needed to create a single frame of the original movie, produced using a software-based render farm comprised of supercomputers.

"It has long been an artist's dream to render CG animation in real-time," stated Kazuyuki Hashimoto, CTO at Square USA, a subsidiary of the company that created the original film. "This technology demonstration represents the future direction of digital 3D entertainment, simulating human emotions, movements and characteristics through the use of computer-generated graphics."

Although Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within hasn't had the box office success that its creators hoped, critics and audiences alike have been amazed at the life-life rendering of human forms, movements and characteristics.

If you're attending SIGGRAPH 2001 and you're interested in this technology demonstration, look for Nvidia and Square USA's booths, numbers 1701 and 1927 respectively.

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