LONDON Caustic Graphics Inc. (San Francisco, Calif.) is a startup company that claims to have made a breakthrough in the hardware acceleration of ray-traced graphics.
Caustic said it's first-generation technology will deliver an average 20-fold increase in the speed used to create 3-D imagery for film and video, game development, as well as automotive and consumer product design. The second generation of Caustic's technology, due early in 2010, is expected to gain an additional order of magnitude in performance, offering a 200 times speed-up over current graphics products.
The performance increase is allowed by ray-tracing algorithms implemented in a semiconductor design. Caustic's forthcoming CausticRT platform enables highly parallel CPUs and GPUs to massively-accelerate raytracing.
"Real-time raytracing has been the holy grail of computer graphics since 1979 a dream always on the horizon but never within reach," said Jon Peddie, of Jon Peddie Research (Tiburon, Calif.), a computer graphics market research firm. "Caustic Graphics has made the breakthrough with a combination of a small hardware accelerator and some very innovative software to be able to deliver real-time, complex, high-resolution raytraced images this is an amazing accomplishment."
The Caustic management team is made up of technical visionaries and graphics experts previously with such companies as Autodesk, Apple, ATI, Intel and Nvidia. Before starting Caustic, company founders James McCombe, Luke Peterson and Ryan Salsbury worked together at Apple, where McCombe was a lead architect for the company's OpenGL graphics system and chief architect of Apple's rendering algorithms for the iPhone and iPod.
"Caustic puts the power of a render farm, operating at interactive speeds, on every desktop, enabling designers and animators to get from concept to product faster, better and at lower cost," said Caustic Graphics CEO, Ken Daniels.
The Caustic product offering will be announced in April 2009.
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