I recently had the opportunity to use NVIDIA GRID technology while doing live demonstrations at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco. For four days I manned a pod showing off Adobe Photoshop CC running in a virtualized environment using a thin client connected to a server equipped with an NVIDIA GRID K2 card running a VMware vGPU instance through vSphere. The idea was to do "real work" during the show by designing a different NVIDIA themed character for each of the four days while pushing the limits of image size and resolution. I would create each character in real time while taking ideas and feedback from booth visitors-a far more powerful demonstration of what NVIDIA GRID can do than any canned or scripted demo could achieve. I did almost all of my work in Photoshop; however I did occasionally open up Illustrator to demonstrate working with larger vector files in a virtual environment.
Grid Man was my first character, a heroic mad scientist sort whose experiments with virtual graphics processing had escaped the lab. Aside from a few issues getting my Wacom Intuos tablet to work (such as pressure sensitivity), I was up and running in almost no time. The .PSD file grew to somewhere around 400MB as I worked, but the NVIDIA GRID K2 worked flawlessly. Even the large, GPU heavy procedures, such as flipping the image horizontally, were almost instantaneous- much faster even than my home workstation. Visitors loved the demo, and suggestions came pouring in. For example, someone suggested replacing Grid Man's goggles with Google Glass lenses to make him more cutting edge.
Day two saw me creating a sorceress conjuring up an NVIDIA logo. I did my best to push the NVIDIA GRID to it's limits by selecting an image size larger than I would normally work, to 12 x 7 at 600 dpi resolution with over 30 layers. The K2 card shrugged it off and kept delivering extremely rapid performance, letting me design a very striking female character, complete with NVIDIA GRID logos and colors. Needless to say, this design was by far the most popular one I did during those four days!
Day three threw me a curveball: NVIDIA, along with VMware and Google, announced that GRID would work on a Chromebook powered by the NVIDIA Tegra processor, and turned to me for proof. I was unable to use my trusty Wacom tablet and stylus, and had to rely on a mouse and keyboard, but that was the only major change. NIVIDIA GRID delivered the exact same performance I had enjoyed on the thin client over the prior two days, and the flying armored superhero was the result. The audience couldn't believe I was doing this on a Chromebook and asked a lots of great artistic and technical questions.
My understanding is that each GRID GPU can support up to eight simultaneous users, so I decided to create a kraken-like eight-legged octopus for the final day of the conference. I was back on my thin client with my tablet, and once again NVIDIA GRID delivered top-notch performance.
All in all, it was a great conference, and I truly enjoyed the chance to see firsthand what NVIDIA GRID technology can do. I got to spend four days doing what I love while soaking up the positive energy of the people coming by who were amazed to see someone drawing live...and even more amazed when they learned it was all happening in a virtual environment.
On a personal level, the ability to centralize my assets and then access my environment from almost any device with the full performance I need to work effectively is liberating, because it frees artists from their studios to work whenever- and wherever-inspiration strikes.