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RenderAnts: Interactive REYES Rendering on GPUs

Kun Zhou, Qiming Hou, Zhong Ren, Minmin Gong, Xin Sun, Baining Guo
Zhejiang University
ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG) – Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH Asia 2009, Volume 28 Issue 5, December 2009

@article{zhou2009renderants,

   title={RenderAnts: interactive Reyes rendering on GPUs},

   author={Zhou, K. and Hou, Q. and Ren, Z. and Gong, M. and Sun, X. and Guo, B.},

   journal={ACM Transactions on Graphics},

   volume={28},

   number={5},

   pages={155},

   year={2009},

   publisher={Citeseer}

}

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We present RenderAnts, the first system that enables interactive REYES rendering on GPUs. Taking RenderMan scenes and shaders as input, our system first compiles RenderMan shaders to GPU shaders. Then all stages of the basic REYES pipeline, including bounding/splitting, dicing, shading, sampling, compositing and filtering, are executed on GPUs using carefully designed dataparallel algorithms. Advanced effects such as shadows, motion blur and depth-of-field can be also rendered with our system. In order to avoid exhausting GPU memory, we introduce a novel dynamic scheduling algorithm to bound the memory consumption during rendering. The algorithm automatically adjusts the amount of data being processed in parallel at each stage so that all data can be maintained in the available GPU memory. This allows our system to maximize the parallelism in all individual stages of the pipeline and achieve superior performance. We also propose a multi-GPU scheduling technique based on work stealing so that the system can support scalable rendering on multiple GPUs. The scheduler is designed to minimize inter-GPU communication and balance workloads among GPUs. We demonstrate the potential of RenderAnts using several complex RenderMan scenes and an open source movie entitled Elephants Dream. Compared to Pixar
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