Citrix Ready partner, NVIDIA, had a spectacular booth at VMWorld 2015, with its centerpiece “Tower of Power” heralding the GRID 2.0 launch. Equally impressive was one of their headline demo running on Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, by an artist-sculptor they invited on-site. 

Apple, yesterday, introduced “the Pencil, an option for those who want to use the new iPad Pro as if it were a sheet a paper and the stylus as if it were — wait for it — a real pencil“. Back at the show last week, Citrix and NVIDIA revealed a new technology to let artists and designers use professional pens, such as those from Wacom, in remote virtual apps. In a way, NVIDIA booth visitors saw the Pencil in action, a whole week before Apple announced it! 🙂

USB redirection to Cloud conquers one of the last bastions of delivering artistic experience using virtual desktops and apps. Our engineers discovered that the simple act of delivering a vGPU-powered desktop remotely is just the beginning. Once apps and desktops are centralized, the artists and designers want their familiar tools to complete their work. To accept the new way of working, it is important they perceive no change in the response, performance, or even type of peripherals they use. Easier said than done when the app itself could be tens or hundreds of miles away from the peripheral, a common feature of virtualization. Until now, matching the latency of cloud deployments with the real-time demands of artists and designers was unthinkable. This feature, unique to Citrix, meets use-cases beyond 3D graphics too, such as signature pads.

The special guest at NVIDIA booth was Christine, a digital artist who is used to sculpting with digital tools such as Autodesk Mudbox and Wacom drawing pens. Normally, she uses a local workstation because sculpting digitally requires precise response and immediate feedback to the gentle pressure applied to her “clay” models. We decided to get her reaction when using all of the same tools to perform her art, with one small but significant difference: we separated her “digital fingers” from the clay model by about 50 miles!

We had a sneak peek of this feature at NVIDIA booth in VMWorld 2015 (and you can check it out, too!) The scene unfolded like this: Pardon the noisy background, please, as we meet Christine on her low end laptop. She has started work on a complex clay model in Autodesk Mudbox, running inside a Citrix XenDesktop session. She has plugged in the Wacom Intuos tablet into the USB port of her laptop, just as she normally would. The only difference is that the Wacom device is redirected into the application hosted about 50 miles away from San Francisco, at the NVIDIA headquarters in Santa Clara. Despite the latency and conference WiFi, she can manipulate the model as if directly by her fingers. The gestures are translated in real time, and so is the pressure-sensitivity so she can make either deep cuts or fine strokes as desired. As for her final verdict? We think her smile says it all!

The goal for Citrix and NVIDIA is to let artists focus on their art, not worry about technology. 

USB Redirection to Cloud will be part of a future XenDesktop and XenApp release. Watch this space for details closer to launch…