Tressfx Enhances Lara’s Hair
Today, AMD and Crystal Dynamics have confirmed our expectations – tressfx is a GPU physics and graphics solution for rendering much more realistic hair in games. The first game utilising this feature is Tomb Raider reboot and when enabled, it renders Lara's hair as a lot of physically interacting strands and also improves the shading of hair.
The technical challenge in rendering the realistic hair is the need to render thousands of semi-transparent strands with and anti-aliasing as well as intensive physics simulation to get realistic movement and avoid intersection with itself and body. Using DirectX 11 Order Independent Transparency with special data management allows getting the right look of transparent hair. DirectX Compute handles the hair physics calculations, allowing the physical simulation of numerous strands of hair (each is simulated as a chain with dozens of links).
As all tressfx functionality is based on standard DX11 functions, the enhanced hair should work on any graphics card supporting DX11, including NVidia's GPUs – a welcome change compared to PhysX or 3D standards. However, as GCN-based cards (HD 7700 series and higher) have more compute performance than Nvidia's GK104 (GTX 660 Ti and higher, except Titan), they may outperform GeForce cards when tressfx is enabled. Now we can only wait for Tomb Raider's release to see how much performance those nice hair will cost on each card.