Ten years ago Nvidia released Dawn (opens in new tab) , a GeForce FX tech demo featuring a fairy gymnast as seen through the tunnel vision of someone who's been eating unidentified fungi. It was impressive, but in the past ten years extreme use of bloom and depth of field has become less novel. Today, Nvidia released "A New Dawn," an updated demo (announced last month) which shows off the power of Kepler-based GPUs.
Dawn has new hair (40,000 hairs, to be precise, as opposed to the original demo's 1,700 strands), a new skin shader, a fully modeled environment to live in, screen space ambient occlusion, and all of the other stuff we expect from Nvidia's fastest and most efficient GPU yet (opens in new tab) . Her hair is especially striking, in that it looks very impressive, but not quite like hair.
To deal with the challenge of anti-aliasing 40,000 strands, A New Dawn uses "a special hair smoothing shader that inspects each strand and blurs them in the combing direction." According to last month's post, "the final result looks soft and silky, as if she just jumped out of the shower after an extensive conditioner routine." That is seriously extensive conditioning.
The demonstration will run on a 2.5GHz dual-core processor with a GTX 670 or higher. The download link, a complete list of upgrades, and the full system specs can be found in Nvidia's post (opens in new tab) .