NVIDIA Demonstrates ‘Project Pandora’ at Autodesk University

Over the past year, NVIDIA has helped designers using Autodesk 3ds Max to build some of the fastest GPU computing rigs possible (often up to 8 GPUs). To quench these designers’ thirst for ever more performance, NVIDIA and Autodesk are working on “Project Pandora” to bring Autodesk 3ds Max and iray rendering to the cloud.

At Autodesk University (AU) 2011 in Las Vegas this week, the company is demonstrating how Project Pandora harnesses the compute power of a GPU cluster on any Flash-capable PC running 3ds Max and iray. This allows 3ds Max users to add virtual dual-GPU rendering machines to their workflow on demand.

Unlike “batch” network rendering – where each machine renders one frame – Project Pandora coordinates the entire cluster to accelerate the current frame. Jobs that used to take over a day can now be done in under an hour by leveraging dozens of cloud nodes.

But supercharging iray and 3ds Max production rendering is just the start. Once scenes are in the Pandora cloud environment, they can be interactively viewed from a web browser. With Project Pandora, designers can serve up photorealistic tours from the lightest weight of machines, or simply give clients and colleagues the power to interact and view the scene for themselves.

At AU 2011 Las Vegas, NVIDIA is using tablets powered by the company’s Tegra 2 mobile processor to show to navigate photorealistic scenes, composed of millions of polygons, in under a minute.

While the company can’t yet say when Project Pandora will be publicly available, it is in private Beta testing now. NVIDIA is focused on perfecting the details and making Project Pandora as user-friendly and practical as possible.