OptiX is a software development kit for achieving optimal ray tracing performance on the GPU. It provides a simple and flexible framework for accelerating ray tracing algorithms much like rasterization APIs such as OpenGL.


OptiX has been in active development since 2008 and has been successfully deployed in both commercial applications such as Adobe After Effects and Ansys as well as in-house development in applications ranging from film rendering to scientific visualization (including Gordon Bell Award finalists), defense applications, audio synthesis, and computing lightmaps for games.

Get OptiX*

* Download is the latest stable version release. A beta version of the next release is also available here.

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Key Features

  • Support for NVIDIA Pascal architecture GPUs.
  • The very latest techniques for exceptional GPU ray tracing performance
  • Client-server rendering, and unlimited scaling using Quadro VCA
  • Automatic scaling to multiple GPUs
  • Strong backward compatibility so new GPUs and OptiX releases provide effortless speedups
  • Well designed C and C++ APIs for representing the entire ray tracing-based algorithm
  • Elegant single-ray shader programming model using CUDA C++
  • Dynamic shader programming with IDs of buffers, textures, and programs
  • OptiX Prime for ultra fast and simple ray intersection results.
Learn more about OptiX technology
Operating System 64-bit Windows, Linux and Mac OS
Dependencies CUDA Fermi or later GPU; Recent NVIDIA Driver
Development Environment C/C++ Compiler and Recent CUDA Toolkit

OptiX in Action

Pixar’s Real-Time Previewer (RTP)

Pixar’s Real-Time Previewer (RTP) is an internal tool based on OptiX. This tool enables lighting design and look development much faster than prior tools. It uses a full global illumination renderer with progressive refinement while the artist makes changes.

See RTP in action in Pixar’s GTC 2014 keynote, starting at time 27:00.

[Image courtesy of Pixar]
Visual Molecular Dynamics (VMD)

Visual Molecular Dynamics (VMD) is a molecular visualization program for displaying, animating, and analyzing large biomolecular systems using 3-D graphics and built-in scripting. VMD’s preferred rendering mode for both viewport and final render is OptiX, with full VCA support available. The OptiX path renders the highest visual quality and even has a frame rate five times higher than OpenGL on massive datasets.

Click here or the image to watch the video.

[Image courtesy of VMD, Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.]


NVIDIA Iray is a state of the art, yet easy to use, photorealistic rendering solution with a robust C++API for seamless integration into 3D applications. Iray provides multiple rendering modes addressing a spectrum of use cases requiring realtime and interactive feedback to physically based, photorealistic visualizations. Iray uses OptiX Prime for all ray tracing.

Learn more about Iray

AAA Studios FurryBall

AAA Studios FurryBall is a production-quality, final-frame GPU renderer with advanced rendering techniques. It works as a plugin for Maya and 3ds Max with network rendering and multi-GPU support. FurryBall RT uses NVIDIA OptiX™ for its physically based, full global illumination renderer that is used both in the interactive viewport and for final frame rendering.

[Image courtesy of AAA Studios.]

OptiX Resources