Computing

Nvidia’s DLSS 3.5 Update Revolutionizes Ray Tracing

A pyramid from Cyberpunk 2077.
Image credit: Nvidia

Nvidia recently unveiled its latest update to the Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) feature – DLSS 3.5. Set to be released alongside Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty this fall, DLSS 3.5 introduces a groundbreaking addition to Nvidia’s renowned RTX technology.

The Innovation: Ray Reconstruction

Ray Reconstruction is the latest addition to DLSS 3.5, and it brings significant improvements in ray tracing quality without sacrificing performance. In fact, in some cases, it can even enhance performance. Unlike traditional ray tracing methods, Nvidia emphasizes that Ray Reconstruction focuses on enhancing image quality rather than solely improving performance.

V rides a motorcycle while shooting at a mech in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty.
Image credit: CD Projekt Red

Initially, DLSS 3.5 will be available for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, Portal RTX, and the delayed Alan Wake 2. Ray Reconstruction is compatible with all RTX graphics cards and can be toggled on or off in the graphics menu. Super Resolution, Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing, Ray Reconstruction, and Frame Generation (exclusive to RTX 40-series cards like the RTX 4070) are the four key features bundled under DLSS 3.5.

Ray Reconstruction, like other DLSS features, harnesses the power of AI, utilizing the Tensor cores on RTX graphics cards for processing. However, its implementation differs in some ways from other DLSS features.

How DLSS 3.5 Works

Flow of Nvidia's DLSS 3.5
Image credit: Nvidia

Ray Reconstruction’s primary objective is to address the loss of detail during the denoising process when ray tracing is enabled. In a ray-traced game, only a limited number of samples are taken per pixel, leading to noise similar to graininess in film or noisy digital images. Denoising helps clean up the image after an adequate number of samples have been taken.

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Nvidia provides an informative explanation of denoising and its necessity, which is worth watching if you’re unfamiliar with the process. The focus here, however, lies in the limitations of denoising. Currently, in most games with ray tracing, fine details are often lost when elements like fences or lamp posts are not sufficiently sampled, resulting in a blurring effect.

Denoising methods for ray tracing
Image credit: Nvidia

Temporal denoising, another method discussed by Nvidia, can introduce instability. This technique compares two frames to fill in missing details, but it can cause ghosting on fast-moving objects and shimmering reflections on stationary objects due to varying sample pools.

Ray Reconstruction promises to address these issues and make ray tracing more accurate by bypassing the denoising process entirely. It functions as an AI-powered denoiser, recognizing different lighting effects such as hard or soft reflections, global illumination, and shadows. By adapting the denoising process to the specific scene, Ray Reconstruction ensures the preservation of necessary details for high-quality upscaling.

Nvidia demonstrated the capabilities of Ray Reconstruction in Portal RTX and Cyberpunk 2077, exhibiting significantly improved lighting conditions when the feature was enabled. Furthermore, Ray Reconstruction does not adversely affect performance and may even provide a slight performance boost when denoising is particularly demanding.

Nvidia's Ray Reconstruction in Cyberpunk 2077
Image credit: Nvidia

While we eagerly await the release of DLSS 3.5 to ascertain its true capabilities, Nvidia’s materials indicate that Ray Reconstruction is an impressive innovation. Fall cannot come soon enough for enthusiasts keen to experience this advancement firsthand.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • AMD isn’t merely imitating Nvidia with FSR 3.
  • Half-Life 2 receives Nvidia’s RTX treatment with DLSS 3.
  • Why I usually disable Nvidia’s game-changing tech in most games.
  • Understanding Nvidia DLAA: Unveiling the new anti-aliasing technology.
  • Baldur’s Gate 3 PC performance tested: Optimal settings, DLSS, slow HDD mode, and more.
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