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Epic show off stunning Unreal Engine 4 ray tracing demo Troll

Deep Forest Films
A princess playing with fairies in animated short Troll
Troll, Unreal Engine 4, Deep Forest Films

Unreal Engine 4 is seriously blurring the lines between game development and actual cinematography as Epic once again dazzled the GDC crowd with a real-time ray tracing demo made by Goodbye Kansas and Deep Forest Films called 'Troll'.

Troll is part of Epic's real-time technology demonstration made in Unreal Engine 4.22 and it relies on its ray tracing and camera effects, which seem to be getting more impressive with every successive showing.

To make matters even more mouth-watering, Troll is said to have run on a single Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Ti card. Considering the sort of workload and quality on display, it almost looks too good to be true.

Epic's director of engineering for Unreal Engine Nick Penwarden pointed out that it's not just reflections that matter, it's about the subtle interaction of light.

"Ray tracing adds these subtle lighting effects throughout the scene, making everything look more real and natural and making it easier to create beautiful shots", he said.

Troll was written and directed by Bjorne Larson of Deep Forest Films. It was made entirely in Unreal Engine, although they've had help from 3Lateral, face animation specialists who recently joined the Epic family 

You're probably familiar with 3Lateral's work, whose proficiency with facial animations was used in Horizon: Zero Dawn, Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice and Until Dawn, to name but a few. Their expertise has been used on Troll as well, as you can see.

That's not all from Unreal Engine 4's Game Developers Conference, as they also showed off Rebirth, another real-time cinematic showcasing the engine's capabilities. 

The video was produced by Quixel and uses Unreal Engine 4.21, relying on photogrammetry scans from the Megascans Icelandic collection. "With photorealistic results rivaling traditional offline renderers, Rebirth represents a new way of crafting computer graphics", they wrote.

Epic's demonstration of Unreal 4.20 was already pretty impressive, but Epic are committed to taking it even further. Unreal Engine 4.22 will be released in the coming weeks, while the version 4.23 is already being touted for the Chaos system, but that's not before June 2019.