Realism in games is largely achieved through graphics but as the old saying goes, devil’s in the details. Hair is one of those details thats hard to nail with 3D graphics, especially in real time. Lara Croft has always had a pony tail since her introduction to the gaming world in 1996. But let’s be honest… her hair kinda looked like sausages hanging off the back of her head (lol). Since then, hair graphics and Lara’s hair have come a long way, but there are still issues with the hair looking natural and not having an overly solid appearance.
AMD says move aside.
AMD’s latest technological break through is called TRESSFX. It adds on a new level realism to how hair is rendered in real time. And I’m not gonna lie, it looks pretty amazing. Crystal Dynamics teamed up with AMD to show off their new TRESSFX on Lara Croft’s new hair in her new game.
Check out the comparison screenshots for Tomb Raider with AMD TRESSFX…
As you can see, the screens on the right side are much more realistic. The hair has a flow to it, with each strand looking separate, rather than polygonal. The rain makes the hair damp and less wavy. It even shines more realistically. AMD explains TRESSFX like this, “TressFX Hair revolutionizes Lara Croft’s locks by using the DirectCompute programming language to unlock the massively-parallel processing capabilities of the Graphics Core Next architecture, enabling image quality previously restricted to pre-rendered images. Building on AMD’s previous work on Order Independent Transparency (OIT), this method makes use of Per-Pixel Linked-List (PPLL) data structures to manage rendering complexity and memory usage.”
It’s not clear exactly what hardware supports this feature or whether it’s only supported by AMD Radeon hardware. Regardless, it sure does look great. Don’t forget to check out Tomb Raider system requirements article.