ATI Bridges Gap Between Offline and Real-Time Rendering

Game Developers Conference 2003

Booth #827

ATI Demonstrates How Open Source Tools Can Allow Artists to Jumpstart Their Production Pipeline and Render Off-Line Content in Real-Time

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 5, 2003-- ATI Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ATYT) (TSX: ATY) will demonstrate tools that enable digital content creators and artists to take content prepared for off-line rendering, authored in their tool of choice, and render it interactively, with hardware acceleration at this year's Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California. This demonstration of open tools will show artists and studios how they can jumpstart their production pipeline with leading-edge hardware.

The digital content creation (DCC) community has long been interested in the promise of hardware-accelerated rendering, to speed up their production pipeline. Similarly, the interactive and gaming communities have been interested in leveraging the digital assets created for film and video to expand the real-time visual experience. The acceleration of unmodified offline content, however, has been hindered by a lack of hardware features, in particular full floating point capabilities in graphics hardware, as well as the incompatibility of the tools and languages used in the individual communities.

The launch of the RADEON(TM) 9700 PRO in July of 2002 represented a watershed in the graphics industry. Running full floating point computations at full speed at eight pixels per clock, ATI delivered the first hardware with the power and features necessary to render unmodified off-line content. At SIGGRAPH 2002, ATI demonstrated how to translate shaders written in the RenderMan Shading Language into hardware-friendly instructions. For the first time ever, an interface used in film and video production, was executing interactively without approximation or special-casing.

The demonstration of cinematic rendering in real time, will show application developers the process of translating traditional off-line shaders, such as those authored in 3D Studio Max, Maya(R), and the Renderman Shading Language, into industry-standard, hardware-accelerated standard APIs such as DirectX(R) and OpenGL(R). In addition, plug-ins for 3D Studio Max and Maya(R) demonstrate how to generate interactive previews of the native materials and lights directly within the viewports of each application. ATI will be providing the source code for these tools and demonstrations to ISVs upon request with royalty free licensing terms.

"We have begun sharing this demonstration with studios and independent software vendors (ISVs). We want to share our experience with others in the industry and collaborate with others to move the industry forward as a whole. We are excited to see the breadth of creativity and innovation it enables in the community," said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President, Marketing and General Manager, Desktop, ATI Technologies Inc. "ATI is committed to supporting standard hardware interfaces, DirectX(R) and OpenGL(R), and working with our software partners to support their own interfaces. The standard higher level hardware interfaces, DirectX(R) High Level Shader Language (HLSL) and the GL2 Shading Language, form the foundation for true cinematic rendering."

"It is great to see ATI employing existing industry standards and open-source tools to help remove production barriers," said Mark Brown, CTO, Rhythm and Hues Studios. "ATI has demonstrated how our existing shaders can be moved over into hardware shading with relatively little effort. This will allow shading to be done in real-time, as opposed to previously in a software renderer. The switch to hardware can be made seamlessly, resulting in a significant production savings. We look forward to working closely with ATI to advance this important technology."

"Over the past year, we've seen an impressive transformation in the capabilities of workstation-class graphics cards," said Paul Salvini, CTO of Side Effects Software. "ATI's tools will help software developers take full advantage of these new capabilities by providing a broad set of examples on which to build. Side Effects Software is pleased to support ATI's efforts and the heightened visual experience that it will deliver in our Houdini family of products."

Company Background

ATI Technologies Inc. is a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative 3D graphics and digital media silicon solutions. An industry pioneer since 1985, ATI is the world's foremost visual processor unit (VPU) provider and is dedicated to deliver leading-edge performance solutions for the full range of PC and Mac desktop and notebook platforms, workstation, set-top and digital television, game console and handheld markets. With 2001 revenues in excess of US $1 billion, ATI has more than 1,900 employees in the Americas, Europe and Asia. ATI common shares trade on NASDAQ (ATYT) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (ATY).

ATI and ATI product and product feature names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ATI Technologies Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Features, pricing, availability and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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