“What made Leonardo’s paintings so revolutionary was his use of light and shadow, rather than lines, to define three-dimensional objects.” – The National Gallery (nationalgallery.org.uk)
Great artists use lighting to convey emotions and tell stories. This is true whatever the medium, be it paint, film, or the latest video game. For computer-generated imagery, an accurate simulation of how light interacts with materials is essential and this is where global illumination (GI) - how light bounces around a scene - can be used to deliver incredible visual realism.
The big challenge in computer graphics is performing dynamic global illumination in real time as it has traditionally been computationally intense. And this is exactly why dynamic GI is interesting to ARM in our mission to deploy efficient technology wherever computing happens.
In 2013, ARM acquired Geomerics and their Enlighten technology, the game industry’s most advanced dynamic lighting solution. Enlighten is incredibly scalable – from fully baked to totally dynamic lighting, from PC and console to mobile and from small rooms to large environments.
While Enlighten is and always will be optimized to scale and run on any hardware platform, ARM’s design teams benefit from understanding the type of processing required to deliver cutting edge games; this in turn influences and informs our processor roadmaps.
This week at GDC we launched Enlighten 3 with Forge. The innovation in Enlighten 3 ensures it remains at the cutting edge of lighting technology; it also includes a new lighting editor and workflow tool called Forge which makes it easier for artists and developers to take advantage of the incredible visual quality on offer in Enlighten.
You can find more details on Enlighten 3 and Forge on the Geomerics website.
Since taking over the running of Geomerics in ARM I have been staggered by the popularity of the technology. Whether it is 40,000 YouTube hits in a week for a demo video or standing room only in a series of customer meetings in Japan a couple of weeks ago, the developer mindshare we have with Enlighten is significant. When we released our Realistic Rendering demo in 2014 Epic
Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said:
“This is gorgeous! I remember having dreams about this kind of dynamic indirect lighting back when I was building the Unreal Engine 1 renderer!”
2015 looks set to be even more exciting than 2014 as we see Enlighten reach tens of thousands of developers via Unity 5.
Steven Spielberg once said,
“You shouldn't dream your film, you should make it!”
...maybe with Enlighten that should apply to your game as well.