May 25, 2024


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Ray tracing vs path tracing: these are the differences

Ray tracing vs path tracing: these are the differences

Ray tracing

In modern games, “ray tracing” allows calculation of shadows, reflections, and reflections due to different light sources occurring in the scene. This happens in real time, ensuring a realistic and detailed representation of the image content. For example, if a car passes with its headlights on, the shadow cast by the street sign moves as realistically as possible on the asphalt.


An advanced form of ray tracing is called path tracing. This makes more realistic and complex light reflections possible. While “ray tracing” simulates individual light rays, “path tracing” enhances them. This creates more realistic exposure effects, such as when light reflects off a smooth surface and bounces off the ground. This is why “Ray Tracing” is also referred to by the graphics card manufacturer Nvidia as “Full Raytracing”, that is, the technical development of traditional “Raytracing”. However, it is clear that this technology also needs more hardware.

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