Foveated RTX Ray Tracing in Virtual Reality

Uroš Šmajdek

Supervisor(s): Ciril Bohak

University of Ljubljana

Abstract: In this paper, we present a foveated ray tracing method for enhancing the viewing experience of virtual reality environments featuring dense molecular structures. Achieving immersion in virtual reality requires both high-resolution and high frame-rate rendering combined with the ability to generate realistic images. Our approach combines the power of the Nvidia RTX framework with a dynamic rendering rate that is based on the direction of the user's gaze. Foveated rendering is applied in the ray-generation stage of the ray-tracing pipeline, in order to reduce the ray-tracing rate depending on the distance from the center of the user's gaze on the image. This takes advantage of the way the human eye perceives visual detail, allowing us to spare processing power on areas that are largely imperceptible. The nature of the ray-tracing pipeline also allows us to easily apply any post-processing effects, such as screen-space ambient occlusion and temporal anti-aliasing, in a matter similar to the standard deferred rendering pipeline. We demonstrate our technique by rendering a model of SARS-CoV-2 on Meta Quest Pro in 3776x3904x2 stereo resolution, where we observed a higher performance in comparison to the non-foveated counterpart of our method.
Keywords: Real-time Graphics, Rendering, Scientific Visualization, VR
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Year: 2023