You are here: Home > Computer Technology News > Nvidia IRAY Explained
Back to all articles

Nvidia IRAY Explained


Like many rendering engines Iray, which is available for several 3D modelling packages such as 3DS Max, makes use of a technique known as ray-tracing to generate it’s stunning visuals.

Ray-tracing is only one of various methods of rendering 3D scenes. At the moment it is without a doubt the method that provides the most photo-realistic renders, but unlike methods such as rasterization and ray-casting it is too compute-intensive to render imagery in real time with even the best of current hardware.

Top Class

Iray is regarded as one of the most advanced ray-tracing renders on the market today. Renders made with Iray often are almost indistinguishable from true photographs, making it popular with high end illustrators and other visual artists.

Iray is set apart in terms of its user-friendliness. In practice this not only means a more pleasant experience working with the software, but also faster work completion, which is a top priority in an industry where time is literally money.

Iray has a stable and well developed application interface which has allowed companies like Autodesk to integrate it deeply with their 3D design applications such as Maya and 3DS Max.

A Big Brain
One of the key features of Iray is how scalable it is. Rendering jobs can be spread across multiple GPUs and CPUs in different computers spread across a render farm network.

It also allows for network collaboration and efficient clustering of render jobs.

Let There Be Light
None of which would matter if it couldn’t simulate light properly. Luckily this is hands-down one of the best looking light simulations you’ll ever see. Iray performs a sophisticated simulation of light, matter and the way that they interact with each other.

Of course it is not possible to work in the full-quality rendering mode in real time, but Iray let’s you swap between modes or even dynamically blend them in order to speed up your workflow.

In service of this efficiency it uses the Nvidia MDL or “material definition language” across all its rendering modes. This means that you don’t lose accuracy in terms of material properties regardless of the rendering mode you are currently using.

Who Is It For?
Iray is certainly suitable for users who want the very best in rendering output when it comes to photorealism. It’s also for users who want exceptional flexibility. Iray works with many different 3D design and modelling applications. So you can craft a workflow and toolset that suits your situation.

That flexibility extends to hardware scaling. As was mentioned above, this is great software for rendering on a network-based render farm or similar architecture, but it can also make use of multiple GPUs and CPUs within the same local machine. This means that this high-quality ray-traced renderer technology is available for lone workstations and that it can then grow as your business does. Iray can make good use of Tesla compute cards and high-end Quadro or GTX cards in combination with each other. Throw enough horsepower at Iray and it will be one of the fastest rendering experience you’re likely to have.

Keep an eye out for our next generation of workstations designed specifically to be optimized for use with renderers like Iray and 3D software such as 3DS Max.We’ll be bringing you the best combination of speed and cost at every budget level, so speak to one of our consultants today.