Nvidia’s DLSS 3.5 update turns ray tracing on its head

A pyramid from Cyberpunk 2077.

Nvidia introduced Deep Learning Super Sampling 3 (DLSS 3) not long ago, but the feature is already getting a big update. DLSS 3.5 will be released this fall, it seems cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, And it adds something completely new to Nvidia’s stock RTX feature.

Ray rebuild is what’s new. At a high level, Ray Reconstruction enables higher levels of ray tracing quality without hurting your performance (in some cases, it can also improve performance). nvidia billing This is an improvement in image quality over traditional ray tracing methods, not as a way to improve performance.

V rides a motorcycle while shooting a mech in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty.
CD Project Red

Nvidia says DLSS 3.5 will come first cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, rtx portal, And Alan Wake 2 (which was recently pushed back to late October). It lives alongside other DLSS features like Supersolution and Frame Generation. However, unlike frame generation, Ray Reconstruction works on all RTX graphics cards. Additionally, Nvidia told me it will be a separate setting in the graphics menu, so you’ll be able to turn off Ray Reconstruction if you want to.

With DLSS 3.5, Nvidia has bundled four different features under the brand. Supersolution, Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing and Ray Reconstruction will work with all RTX GPUs in DLSS 3.5 games, while Frame Generation is exclusive to RTX 40 series graphics cards such as the RTX 4070.

Like other DLSS features, Ray Reconstruction is powered by AI running on Tensor cores on RTX graphics cards. The way it works is a bit more in-depth than other DLSS features we’ve seen.

How does DLSS 3.5 work?

DLSS 3.5 streaming from Nvidia

The goal of Ray Reconstruction is to remove detail lost during the noise reduction process when ray tracing is turned on. When rendering a ray tracing game, there are only a few samples taken per pixel. This creates noise, similar to a grainy film or noisy digital camera, because some pixels do not contain any luminance information. The solution is to sample more per pixel, but this is so laborious that ray tracing is not possible during game play. The solution is to reduce noise. Clean up the image after you have enough samples.

Nvidia has a very good explanation of how noise reduction works and why it’s important, so I recommend watching it if you don’t understand the process. The story here is not what noise reduction is, but rather its shortcomings. By reducing spatial noise, the game engine uses nearby pixels to fill in missing details and clean up the image. The problem is that the fine details don’t translate. If elements such as a fence or a lamppost are not sampled, they will not appear, resulting in a blurry effect that you can detect in most games with ray tracing at the moment.

Noise reduction methods for ray tracing.

Nvidia also provided an example of temporary (timing-dependent) noise reduction, and how it can cause instability. This works by comparing two frames to fill in the missing details, but it can produce strange results. On fast-moving objects, you might see shadows, for example, and on stationary objects, reflections might flicker as the sample set changes.

There are other examples. Walls reflect ambient light, for example, but if there aren’t enough samples on that wall, the reflection might not be as intense as it should be after noise reduction. You could go on, but Ray Reconstruction promises to make ray tracing more accurate by completely reducing noise.

Ray rebuild from Nvidia in Cyberpunk 2077.

It is an effective AI noise remover. Instead of going through static algorithms with parameters set by the developer, Ray Reconstruction can learn what kind of lighting you’re dealing with – hard or soft reflections, sweeping lighting, shadows, etc. – and adapt the noise reduction process to suit the scene you want it in.

The ability to recognize the scene seems to be what sets Ray Reconstruction apart. Nvidia says this feature has been trained on five times as much data as in DLSS 3, allowing it to use more data from the game engine, learn about different lighting effects, and preserve the detail required for high-quality upscaling.

At least based on what Nvidia has shown, it looks like it does all of that, too. Nvidia was shown RTX portal And cyberpunk 2077, Displays how realistic the lighting conditions are when Ray Reconstruction is on. And it doesn’t hurt performance either. Nvidia says that in some cases, it can improve performance a bit if traditional noise reduction requires special effort.

Nvidia's DLSS 3 in Cyberpunk 2077.

As with all new features, we’ll have to wait until DLSS 3.5 is in our hands to see if it lives up to the hype. If Nvidia’s materials are accurate, Ray Reconstruction looks very impressive. For now, all we can do is wait until the fall when DLSS 3.5 is released.

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