PresenZ, a software solution that creates pre-rendered CGI VR scenes, is now able to render realistic reflections that have accurate depth and parallax just like those in the real world.
PresenZ seeks to bring CGI-quality visuals to virtual reality. This can be done with pre-rendered 360 video but that approach brings with it reduced visual quality compared to real-time rendering and the significant downside of being restricted to a singular viewpoint, eliminating any chance of parallax and scene navigability (both very important for immersion). The PresenZ solution allows for the creation of pre-rendered CGI-quality visuals that retain parallax and navigability.
The company has recently upgraded their rendering solution with what they’re calling ‘Deep Reflections’, which allows reflections to be rendered much more realistically than before.
Prior to the update, the PresenZ rendering tech would ‘bake’ reflections directly into the surface of objects. For the most part this can look good, but for particularly shiny objects, it lacks important visual queues that we see from real-world reflections.
Consider a mirror. When you look into it, you are focusing on virtual objects (in the optical sense) that appear to be inside the mirror, rather than being directly against the plane of the mirror. That is to say, there’s depth to that reflective imagery; and when you move your head back and forth you see the image in the mirror change (parallax). If the mirror’s reflection was ‘baked’ into it, the reflected scene would appear to be directly attached to the plane of the mirror itself and it wouldn’t respond to the movement of your head (no parallax).
With the Deep Reflections update, PresenZ now accurately renders reflections like this with both depth and parallax, making for more realistic reflective objects, especially things like glass, ceramic, and water.
Videogames can often get away with baked reflections as a ‘good enough’ hack because doing it in other ways is very resource intensive. As PresenZ has the benefit of being able to pre-render however, they can add Deep Reflections with no performance downside on playback.
Developer Nozon is releasing their latest PresenZ tech demo with Deep Reflections by request only. The company is also heading to GDC 2016 this coming week and accepting demo and meeting requests here.