AMD have been hard at work on their latest graphics technology that aims to bring things like hair simulation up to speed with modern graphics, all, but killing off the blocky, stiff and jagged hair of modern video games. This comes in the form of their TressFX technology, which in itself sounds like it has been named after a brand of shampoo!
Reproducing a full head of hair in real-time is costly and complex, or at least it has been in the past, and this is where some of today's latest graphics cards come into play. The new tech can draw thousands of tiny semi-transparent strands of hair, each with anti-aliasing, shadows and reflection all at a smooth enough frame rate to give it motion and allow it to react in real time to your movements etc. This all comes thanks to the massive computational power of the DirectCompute programming language that the new technique is based upon; taking advantage of the highly-parallel processing capabilities of the GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture cards such as the HD 7000 range.
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Wind speed, moisture, gravity, movement, collision detection – it is all calculated and will provide some stunning details when applied to hair, plants, trees, likely even grass and beyond, bringing a subtle yet effective level of realism to some of today's latest games, starting with the new Tomb Raider title.
Even better yet is that this kind of technology may be for PC, but it is also just a taste of the kind of modern features we can look forward to on devices such as the PlayStation 4, which as you may know features AMD hardware and GCN cores - allowing for massive amounts of particle, physics, lighting and more to be done in real time over the current generation of gaming hardware.