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RTX Technology

Ray tracing is a method of graphics rendering that simulates the physical behavior of light. NVIDIA has made real-time ray tracing possible with NVIDIA RTX™ —the first-ever real-time ray tracing GPU—and has continued to pioneer the technology since. Powered by NVIDIA RT Cores, ray tracing adds unmatched beauty and realism to renders and fits readily into preexisting development pipelines.

Real-Time Ray Tracing

NVIDIA SDKs enable developers to make full use of the power of ray tracing on NVIDIA hardware. Explore how NVIDIA developer tools work together to produce the next generation of stunning real-time ray-traced content.

Real-time path tracing of a scene called Transparent Machines

RTX Path Tracing

Whether you’re rasterizing, tracing rays, or both, this reference path tracer will ensure the physically-accurate lighting produced is true to life in real time. RTX Path Tracing (RTXPT) provides you the flexibility to take individual components that suit your needs or take the entire path tracer and integrate it directly into your game engine. This path tracer leverages new hardware in NVIDIA RTX GPUs, allowing you to provide the highest-quality rendering modes with uncompromised performance.

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RTX Global Illumination

Multi-bounce indirect light without bake times, light leaks, or expensive per-frame costs. RTX Global Illumination (RTXGI) is a scalable solution that powers infinite bounce lighting in real time, even with strict frame budgets. Accelerate content creation to the speed of light with real-time in-engine lighting updates, and enjoy broad hardware support on all DirectX Raytracing (DXR)-enabled GPUs. RTXGI was built to be paired with RTX Dynamic Illumination (RTXDI) to create fully ray-traced scenes with an unrestrained count of dynamic light sources.

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RTX Global Illumination (RTXGI) in a museum setting

RTX Dynamic Illumination (RTXDI) in an apartment with spot lights.

RTX Dynamic Illumination

Millions of dynamic lights, all fully ray traced, can be generated with RTX Dynamic Illumination. A real-time ray tracing SDK, RTXDI offers photorealistic lighting of night and indoor scenes that require computing shadows from 100,000s to millions of area lights. No more baking, no more hero lights. Unlock unrestrained creativity even with limited ray-per-pixel counts. When integrated with RTXGI and NVIDIA Real-Time Denoiser (NRD), scenes benefit from breathtaking and scalable ray-traced illumination and crisp denoised images, regardless of whether the environment is indoor or outdoor, in the day or night.

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NVIDIA DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is a neural graphics technology that multiplies performance using AI to create entirely new frames and display higher resolution through image reconstruction—all while delivering best-in-class image quality and responsiveness.

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NVIDIA real-time denoisers in Watch Dogs: Legion

Real-Time Denoisers

High-quality real-time denoising brings the highest-quality picture out of a ray-traced scene. NVIDIA Real-Time Denoisers (NRD) is the only available denoiser of its kind that’s designed to work with just half- to one-ray-per-pixel (RPP) signals. NRD uses render input as well as environmental images to deliver results comparable to ground truth, enabling the full suite of RTX technology to be turned on no matter how tight the RPP budget is due to hardware.

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NVIDIA Micro-Mesh is a graphics primitive for micro triangles. This technology can efficiently store opacity or displacement and is accelerated by hardware innovations in NVIDIA RTX GPUs. Leveraging micro-meshes allows assets to be used in their full fidelity, designed to be directly rasterized or path traced, offering increased real-time performance and memory compression for complex geometry such as fossils, creatures and nature.

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NVIDIA Micro-Mesh can store opacity or displacement for complex geometry such as fossils, creatures and nature.

NVIDIA RTX Architecture

RT Cores

RT Cores are accelerator units that are dedicated to performing ray tracing operations with extraordinary efficiency. Combined with NVIDIA RTX software, RT Cores enable artists to use ray-traced rendering to create photorealistic objects and environments with physically accurate lighting.

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Tensor Cores

Tensor Cores enable AI on NVIDIA hardware. They’re leveraged for upscaling and sharpening with DLSS, delivering a performance boost and image quality that would be unattainable without deep learning-powered super sampling.

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RTX Ray Tracing APIs

NVIDIA RTX brings real time, cinematic-quality rendering to content creators and game developers. RTX is built to be codified by the newest generation of cross platform standards: Microsoft DirectX Ray Tracing (DXR) and Vulkan from Khronos Group.

Microsoft’s DXR API extends DirectX 12 to support ray tracing. DXR allows developers to integrate ray tracing alongside traditional rasterization and compute techniques. NVIDIA partnered closely with Microsoft to enable full RTX support for DXR applications.

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NVIDIA VKRay is a set of extensions that bring ray tracing functionality to the Vulkan open, royalty-free standard for GPU acceleration. Developers can confidently build Vulkan applications that take advantage of ray tracing, knowing that NVIDIA drivers fully support the extension.

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Explore Ways to Use NVIDIA RTX

NVIDIA Developer Program

Gain free access to NVIDIA’s real-time SDKs, including RTXGI, RTXDI, NRD, and DLSS. The NVIDIA Developer Program provides the freedom and flexibility to implement NVIDIA SDKs into your own application, as well as resources such as technical blogs, forums, FAQs, and documentation.

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NVIDIA Omniverse

Omniverse is NVIDIA’s platform for real-time design collaboration and physically-accurate simulation, based on Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD) and NVIDIA RTX technology.

The multi-layer platform features the powerful Omniverse RTX Renderer—an advanced, multi-GPU enabled renderer with two modes: RTX-accelerate real-time ray tracing for lightning-fast performance, and near-real time referenced path tracing for the highest-fidelity results. Technical artists, designers, and engineers can leverage RTX capabilities in pre-built Omniverse Apps, or developers can easily build their own apps based on Omniverse Kit.

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RTX-Enabled Applications

Unreal Engine NvRTX

Custom Unreal Engine 4 branches for cutting-edge NVIDIA technologies are available on Github, allowing for rapid integration of RTXGI, RTXDI, DLSS, and more SDKs into the UE4 development cycle.

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Enable RTX on in Unity projects using the High Definition Render Pipeline with just a couple of clicks, alongside native DLSS integration in Unity 2021.2.

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NVIDIA RTX and AI technology is built into many professional visualization and rendering applications.


NVIDIA’s programmable GPU-accelerated ray tracing pipeline, providing a highly scalable rendering solution built around performance and ease-of-use.

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Material Definition Language allows a library of physically based materials and lights to be seamlessly exchanged between applications while maintaining their appearance.

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Real-time rendering GPU support for OpenVDB.

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Ray Tracing News

Ray Tracing Gems II: Available Now

Rendering experts come together to unearth true “gems” for developers of games, architectural applications, visualization, and more in this exciting era of real-time rendering.

Ray Tracing Gems II, the follow up to 2019’s Ray Tracing Gems , is available for free digital download now.


Additional Resources

Ray Tracing Essentials Series

Ray Tracing Essentials is a seven-part video series hosted by the editor of Ray Tracing Gems, NVIDIA’s Eric Haines. The aim of this program is to make developers aware of various terms and concepts used in the field, while also inspiring them with dramatic and beautiful uses of RTX technology.

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Ray Tracing Sessions

Browse a collection of informative on-demand sessions about ray tracing technology and how it can be integrated into development frameworks. Discover the potential of ray-traced effects to add elevated realism and stunning details to games, design, and pro visualization.

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RTX Technology Showcase

Experience NVIDIA RTX technologies: RTXGI, RTXDI, NRD, and DLSS working together to create a fully real-time ray traced interactive demo built in Unreal Engine. An executable as well as the project files are available to download for free.

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