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During the preparation for our hardware tests, a few tools were mentioned again and again – when it came to microphones, a lot of times the answer was: “I use some product there, but I pipe it through Nvidia Broadcast, and then it is fine!” So we looked at Nvidia broadcast, and it turns out: There is a whole program – Nvidia Studio.
So we jumped on a call with Rick Napier, the Senior Technical Product Manager for Nvidias Studio Program, to see what it is and how it is meant to be utilized. Rick has been the Senior Technical PM for four years, and before that he was involved in the GeForce platform.
DP: Rick, what is Nvidia Studio?
Rick Napier: Nvidia Studio is an accelerated computing platform to help artists and designers create better and faster. It includes dedicated hardware in RTX GPUs for creators; world-class Nvidia Studio Drivers that provide maximum stability in creative applications; RTX acceleration in 75+ of the most popular creative applications; and Nvidia-developed apps which leverage the power of RTX GPUs to power AI-accelerated workflows, including Nvidia Omniverse for advanced 3D collaboration, Broadcast for live-streaming and Canvas for painting with AI.
Digital artists can get all of these benefits in laptops purpose-built for creators thanks to the Nvidia Studio validated products program, in which we work with OEMs to build laptops with the right hardware, color-accurate displays, and that benefit from all the optimizations of Nvidia Studio.
DP: Should the drivers not be the same as the gaming drivers?
Rick Napier: Nvidias Game Ready Driver Program has one singular goal: delivering you the best game experience possible on the day a game releases. Our Studio Driver Program goal is to deliver the best possible experience when creating content – and that includes providing you with a more stable experience where your work is not interrupted by constant updates. These drivers also need to deliver maximum stability, for which we thoroughly test them using the latest creative applications and workflows. And we release them on a monthly cadence, more attuned to the creator’s needs.
DP: How can a driver guarantee stability?
Rick Napier: We understand that stability issues and downtime can be devastating for creators. As a result, this group is typically extremely reluctant to change their configuration, unless there is a tangible benefit. As a result, the Nvidia Studio Driver Program has been designed with a strict monthly cadence. Each month, a new Nvidia Studio Driver is made available, which has been tested against the latest creative application versions and updates to ensure the best possible performance, functionality and reliability in creative workflows.
DP: So the Studio-label is a better driver?
Rick Napier: Regardless of whether you prioritize gaming or content creation, Nvidia
offers a driver program which has been custom tailored to maximizing performance, stability and reliability. If you are a gamer who prioritizes day-0 support for the latest games, patches and DLCs, choose Game Ready Drivers. However, if you are a content creator who prioritizes stability and quality for creative workflows including video editing, animation, photography, graphic design and live-streaming, choose Studio Drivers.
DP: The Studio series is aimed at those who need either a professional mobile workstation or are just starting to get into the field of video / 3D. Why is that necessary?
Rick Napier: Nvidia Studio validated products aim to provide creators with products designed for them. But there is a wide range of creators! Studio supports a wide range of artists – from 2D graphic designers to 3D animators to video editors and beyond. To help users choose the right GPU for their needs, we make information available to our OEM partners as well as end users on
www.nvidia.com/studio. For example, a GeForce RTX 3050 and 3050 Ti laptop will be great for photographers and 2D designers. A GeForce RTX 3060 laptop with a good display will be great for video editing. And for 3D artists and live-streamers, GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti laptops will offer them the best performance.
In general: Nvidia Studio Drivers are compatible with GeForce GTX 10-series and up, GeForce RTX series, TITAN V and RTX, Nvidia RTX series and all Quadro products released since 2012.
DP: Are there specific pain points for
video creators and the 3D crowd you have seen?
Rick Napier: There are many! Performance is always a hot topic – from rendering to special hardware functions like video encode and decode or raytracing acceleration. RTX GPUs are not only fast, but also include dedicated hardware for raytracing, video and AI, which help to make these functions incredibly fast.
A major trend that is reshaping the industry is the eruption of AI. Content creation contains lots of repetitive tasks, where the artist is not able to think creatively and just needs to repeat an action. For example, a professional video editor doing rotoscoping. AI gives the editor a Magic Mask tool that allows them to remove the object automatically – and thanks to hardware acceleration for AI on the GPU, a task that would have taken hours is now finished in seconds. It also allows new creators to adopt advanced techniques that would have otherwise been out of reach for their skill level.
3D is another good example of this. Without Nvidia GPUs, artists must work on very low-polycount models or must wait long periods of time for their renders. With AI-denoising and raytracing acceleration, most 3D apps now have a realtime viewport where even large models and scenes can be viewed in realtime.
DP: How long ago did you start the
research into those needs?
Rick Napier: Nvidia has been servicing the creative community for decades, powering individual artists and professional studios alike. Fun fact: For the last 14 years, every movie nominated for an Oscar for visual effects was done on an Nvidia GPU.
About five years ago, we started noticing a change in the market: Individuals were getting access to easier-to-use and powerful tools. The first generation of RTX GPUs allowed individuals to render at home what a renderfarm was doing for studios or art houses. We started working on optimizations for those users very early, but it was apparent that this trend was going to keep growing. That’s why we set up Nvidia Studio.
DP: What are the parts that are
Rick Napier: We look at the entire process, starting with what we can do to improve the hardware. By adding RT, Tensor Cores and video encoders and decoders to Nvidia RTX GPUs, we built hardware that was capable of running incredibly complex tasks in realtime. From there we work very closely with software partners in their development to make sure they’re taking full advantage of our GPUs’ capabilities. This includes SDKs, optimizations in their software, optimizations in our drivers and much more.
DP: And this gets certified after testing between Nvidia and the software developers?
Rick Napier: There are a series of tests – both real-world workflows and synthetic benchmarks – that are run by both Nvidia and the partner. It’s difficult to quantify how much time this is as it varies by workflow, but creators can be confident that the top creative apps run best on Nvidia hardware.
Our Nvidia Studio Drivers undergo considerable testing to optimize stability. And for enterprise creators, we have our Nvidia RTX professional GPUs, which get officially certified for enterprise deployment by the top creative software applications.
… or on a laptop. These numbers are obviously for a specific configuration, but should translate to other, comparable setups. And none of these machines and tools are exotic anymore – you can get them from most reputable hardware vendors in pre-configured system.
DP: How often do these tests get updated? Is there a reoccurring Studio Validation?
Rick Napier: We have reoccurring test plan review meetings to review test cases and hardware configurations. Tests get updated depending on new features or based on external bug reports (e.g. regressions). Internally, we have a RCCA process where each bug goes through a review and if the bug is valid, we add it as a test case going forward.
New upcoming hardware goes through an internal process known as “Bring-up”; this is early testing with new hardware against ISV applications. Hardware and software support depends on the business units – hardware goes through a EOS then a EOL process while software support depends on hardware EOS and EOL.
DP: Excuse the maybe stupid question: But what are those cores? And what exactly does hardware encoder as a physical chip do?
Rick Napier: Tensor cores are dedicated silicon on Nvidia boards to execute tensor data structures. NVENC and NVDEC are dedicated silicon-like Tensor Cores that are independent of CUDA Cores. These two chips that are physically on the board perform dedicated video processing tasks.
DP: So Studio is the hardware-component (so to speak) for Omniverse and the single user toolset of the Omniverse suite?
Rick Napier: Studio is the end-to-end software and hardware stack that accelerates content creation. It includes accelerating applications, exclusive Nvidia apps like Broadcast and Canvas, the Omniverse platform, Studio Drivers and SDKs and Studio-validated systems – with Nvidia RTX and GeForce RTX GPUs providing the power to drive new capabilities.
DP: And the other components?
Rick Napier: Broadcast and Canvas were created to address specific pain points for creators. Broadcast was developed as we saw huge growth in live-streaming. We found a large number of creators and gamers were streaming from environments that weren’t conducive to clean audio or video. By leveraging AI, we are able to reduce background noise and replace or blur backgrounds, giving creators a professional-grade stream without dedicated hardware.
Similarly, we found creators were spending an increasing amount of time in concept phases who wanted to be able to iterate quickly. Canvas does this with AI by turning very rough sketches into beautiful landscapes.
We’re always exploring what AI can do, but we’re also focused on improving the experience in both of these apps to bring more tools to creators. We have opened up access to a lot of the technology behind these apps, so our partners can also benefit from these AI features. For example, Logitech now allows
users to turn on Nvidia’s noise removal AI feature in G-Hub.
DP: And how do developers get access to the SDKs? Or the Studio Program in general?
Rick Napier: Developers can get access to all of our published SDKs in our developer portal: developer.nvidia.com. We have lots of resources to help them integrate the SDKs. And we also have our Nvidia Inception Startup Program to help developers create new startups that need GPU resources.
DP: With the day-to-day user contact you have: Do you have a recommendation for the I/O that is absolutely necessary? And what upgrades in hardware provide the most improvement for quality of life?
Rick Napier: I/O is always a complicated topic. You want to move to new standards that support higher throughput and new features, like battery charging, but you don’t want to have to replace all your previous cables or manage a lot of dongles.
For video, HDMI 2.1, Displayport 1.4 and USB-C are the go to solutions. USB-C enables charging and a smaller form factor, but it’s still early in the adoption cycle and not all displays support it yet.
For data transfer, USB 4.0 and Thunderbolt are the future, and we think people will continue to move onto these new standards.
It is always recommended to use a GeForce RTX 3060, Nvidia RTX A3000 or higher. On some packages you might get good results with a 3050, but Plug-ins and extensions might need some performance as well.
- Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects,
- Adobe Substance 3D Designer, Painter,
Sampler & Stager
- Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya, Revit, Arnold
- Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve
- Cinema 4D, Redshift
- Cyberlink Powerdirector
- D5 Render
- DAZ Studio
- DxO Photolab
- Marmoset Toolbag
- Octane Renderer
- Redcine X Pro
- SideFX Houdini
- Topaz Labs Denoise Ai, Gigapixel Ai,
- Sharpen Ai & Video Enhance Ai
- Unreal Engine
- Vegas Pro