• November 29, 2023
ray tracing

What is ray tracing? Everything you need to know

As they advance, our video games look more and more spectacular and new technologies for this are emerging, among which ray tracing, or ray is tracing. But what is this technique that is being talked about so much lately? As it can be a bit confusing, we are going to explain everything you need to know about what it is, what it is for and why it is on everyone’s lips. It should be noted that, despite the fact that this technology is usually associated with Nvidia RTX graphics cards, it is not something exclusive to the green team. Also, you have probably seen it in movies, although in this article we are going to focus on an explanation of what it is and how it applies exclusively to the gaming context.

Ray Tracing ON vs OFF // Graphics Comparison #1 - YouTube

What is ray tracing?

To begin with, it must be clear that ray tracing, or ray tracing, is a technique that deals with the lighting that we are going to see in our video games. If you’re looking for the most realistic light and reflections , you need to have ray tracing on your side. Ray tracing is a feature that allows you to simulate how light works in the real world when illuminating objects. Light is something that bounces between objects and surfaces, and that is something that we lacked until the arrival of this technology. This means that we are not only seeing something being illuminated directly (as can be, for example, by pointing a flashlight at it), but also indirectly, thanks to a light source that has bounced towards this very object. As you can imagine, an infinite number of calculations are required to be able to carry out this simulation accurately. But this not only affects the light, but also the shadows and reflections of the objects, since they are part of the simulation of a real behavior of light. In the end, being able to use ray tracing is going to get super realistic graphics and delight those looking for technological marvels. As you can imagine, this is no small feat, and it is the reason why ray tracing has such a big impact on the performance of your games. If you’ve ever tried to test it with, say, an RTX 2060, you’ll know that FPS rates tend to drop if you don’t have a powerful rig to use this feature. This is why it is often recommended to use scaling technologies, such as Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR.

As I said before, this type of technology is more often associated with Nvidia, since its line of RTX GPUs have a component called RT Cores, which is responsible for processing these calculations at the hardware level, and not just at the software level. AMD, for its part, supports ray tracing, but at the software level, something that has its own complications and that developers favor less than Nvidia’s method, making its performance worse. Of course, although I am only talking about PC components, ray tracing is also found on consoles , with both PS5 and Xbox Series X having a large number of games that support this function. Just like on PC, this will depend on whether the game offers this option or not. Be that as it may, the future of graphic progress goes through this type of technique. Having reached a point where the aesthetic fidelity is so, so high in broad strokes (like the character models), we are going to start seeing more and more advances of this type , and it is very important that you stay up to date with them.

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