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Nalu (demo)

Nalu is both the name of NVIDIA's technology demo and its main character. The demo was used to promote the GeForce 6800 GPUs of the GeForce 6 Series video card.



Nalu is the daughter of the deep sea, a mermaid. Nalu means "wave" in Hawaiian; the name is fitting because of her long, flowing hair which shimmers and undulates in her underwater home, showing off the power of the GeForce 6800 GPUs. NVIDIA's engineer William Donnelly, engineer Hubert Nguyen, artist/modeler Bonnie O Clair and animator Anders Beer were credited with crafting this 3D real-time demo that would surpass the previously created Dawn and Dusk demos, which were made to showcase the company's GeForce FX series. [1]

Nalu's most striking feature is her dense hair, in contrast with the earlier demos' use of short hair. The hair is simulated in real time and lit by a technique called Deep Shadows where the topmost hairs glow brightly from exposure to the light, while the lower hairs are darker.

The effects of gravity and water current on Nalu and her surroundings, the color of the light coming through the water, the iridescence of her scales, the light refracted through the water's surface lights up her skin, and the dynamic visual effect of her body and hair casting soft shadows on her as she swims are all rendered in real-time. All these features demonstrated the raw power and special effects capabilities of the GeForce 6800 GPUs.

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