How to get started with real-time ray tracing

video: what real-time ray tracing is, and the first steps to trying it out in Unreal Engine.

You might have seen a ton of real-time ray tracing demos out there for archviz, design, cinematics and even final films.

But if you haven’t got your head around exactly what real-time ray tracing means, why it’s important and how you can try it out, the video below might help.

This explainer from Epic Games’ Unreal Engine gets straight into what real-time ray tracing is all about, including how it differs from rasterization, which is what most game engines relied on before real-time ray tracing came along. The video is also a quick guide to setting up an Unreal Engine scene readied for real-time ray tracing, so that you can try it out for yourself.

So, that’s the basics. If you’d like to learn more about real-time ray tracing in Unreal Engine, there are several ways you can dive deeper:

1. Head to the in-depth Unreal Engine documentation, where the key components of ray tracing in Unreal Engine are explained further.

2. Sign up to the Unreal Engine online learning platform (it’s free) and find the ‘Ray Tracing Features in UE4’ course. There’s plenty of other courses about Unreal Engine there, too.

3. Watch this Ray Tracing in Unreal Engine 4.23 update from Epic’s Juan Cañada, Lead Engineer, and Patrick Kelly, Senior Rendering Programmer, which they presented this year at SIGGRAPH.

4. Download the latest version of Unreal Engine, and, as the explainer video points out, jump in to experiment with real-time ray tracing.

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