The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the Intel Embree ray tracing library, a component of the Intel oneAPI Rendering Toolkit, a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award.

The Academy, which hosts the annual Academy Awards, recognizes Intel Embree’s ray tracing for geometric rendering as a contributing innovation in the moviemaking process.

“The Intel Embree team continues to push the envelope on rendering and ray tracing while delivering benefits to visual storytellers around the world,” says Raja Koduri, Intel senior vice-president, chief architect and GM of Architecture, Graphics and Software.

“This award is a timely recognition for the passion and persistence of this team. We look forward to bringing more visual computing breakthroughs with our upcoming XPU platforms with Xe architecture.”

Ray tracing methods combine the physics of light with 3D objects and their surface materials to generate lifelike images, including mathematically correct reflections, refraction, shadows and more.

Intel Embree’s production-ready capabilities allow creators to inject photorealism through premier, realistic lighting effects, such as reflections and shadows on hair, fur, mirrors or any object; complex motion blur for multiple moving objects like vehicles, propellers and birds; and complex geometries like ray-oriented disks, spheres and normal-oriented disks to render particle effects such as sand and foam. This is in addition to other features, such as multi-level instancing to render complex scenes.

Intel Embree helps developers optimise rendering applications on existing hardware to utilise advanced technologies such as Intel SIMD and Intel AVX-512 on Intel Xeon and Core processors and emerging Intel XPU platforms, such as Intel Xe architecture (GPUs).

Users can achieve realtime performance, fast render cycles, cost-efficient production and memory savings, with more time spent on quality rendering and less time on compute.

“We are humbled and honored to receive this award. It is a wonderful acknowledgement of our efforts to deliver open software technology, cleverly utilizing ever-improving computing platforms, to unbridle creativity taking motion pictures and animation to amazing levels of visual impact in storytelling,” says Jim Jeffers, senior principal engineer and senior director of Advanced Rendering and Visualisation Architecture at Intel.

“Intel Embree is the culmination of many years of research, industry collaboration and software development — playing a pivotal role in greatly enhancing visual experiences with photo-realistic content.”

Intel Embree is widely used in movie studio rendering pipelines. Its ray tracing capabilities include studio photorealistic visual effects, animated films, scientific visualisation, 3D product and architectural design, and gaming visuals such as terrain and shadows.

The open source library is also integrated into many popular industry rendering tools, such as Blender, Chaos Group’s V-Ray, DreamWorks Animation’s MoonRay, Kitware’s ParaView, Corona Render, Maxon Cinema 4D and Cinebench, and others.

Movies where Intel Embree was used to deliver stunning visuals include:

* “Bumblebee” — Allspark Pictures, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Tencent Pictures Platinum Dunes, Paramount Pictures, using Chaos Group V-Ray

* “Cyberpunk 2077” — Goodbye Kansas Studios using Chaos Group V-Ray

* “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” — DreamWorks Animation using MoonRay

* “Lego Batman” — Animal Logic using Glimpse

* “Manou the Swift” — Luxx Studios using Chaos Group V-Ray

* “Next Gen” — Baozou in association With Tangent Studios using Blender; Media courtesy of NETFLIX Inc

* “Peter Rabbit” — Animal Logic using Glimpse

* “Secret Life of Pets 2” — Illumination Entertainment using the Illumination Mac Guff renderer

* “Spider-Man, Far from Home” — Sony Pictures using Framestore Freak

* “Spring” — Blender Animation using Blender

* Thanos from “Avengers: Infinity War” — Marvel Studios, Digital Domain, using Chaos Group V-Ray

* “The Grinch” — Illumination Entertainment using the Illumination Mac Guff renderer

* “Trolls” — DreamWorks Animation using MoonRay.

The Scientific and Technical Awards were introduced in 1931 to recognize the achievements of pioneers and science and technology’s critical role in advancing motion picture production. The Academy will honour 17 scientific and technical achievements in a virtual Scientific and Technical Awards presentation on 13 February 2021.

Featured picture: ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ – courtesy Sony Pictures, Marvel Studios.