Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Mobile devices used as a barcode to replace paper tickets?
Monday, 17 December 2007
Virtual worlds and the US elections
Earthmine, a new approach to rapid 3D urban modelling
Sunday, 16 December 2007
VirtuSphere, the future of immersive virtual reality?
GPS for the iPhone?
GPS-enabled cruise control car by Nissan
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Turning Torso building SketchUp tutorial in 3D World magazine
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
NVIDIA launching GeForce 9 series in February
The urban modelling process behind Project Gotham Racing 4
It is always interesting to see other people processes towards virtual city creation and while I have not yet bought a copy of PGR4 for my XBox 360 (still struggling with Gears Of War!) this one definitely looks as one of those games to buy just to admire the city modelling work...
Saturday, 24 November 2007
Gamr7's Automatic City Builder
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Visual Studio 2008 released
A few statistics (provided by Microsoft themselves mind you!),
- over one million professional developers used Visual Studio 2005
- 17 million downloads of Visual Studio Express
- 25 per cent of Visual Studio developers are using Visual Studio Team System
I have been eagerly awaiting for this release since the 2005 version has created many problems for PCs with Vista on them and the new 2008 version of Visual Studio is expected to solve all incompatibilities...
I will try and do future posts on this one with my own as well as other developer opinions on the new version of this popular development platform.
A round-up of 3D software, trial editions
Try the 30-day trial of SoftimageXSI 6.5 here
2) The free 30-day trial version of Zbrush 3.1 is a full-featured version offering the sculpting and painting tool for students, teachers, artists and others just beginning their journey into Zbrush. Just submit some basic personal information and Pixologic will email you a link to the software.
Try the 30-day trial of Zbrush 3.1 here
3) A 30-day version of modo 301 is also available in a trial format for $25.00. Luxology has prepared an evaluation kit that is ideal for anyone who wants to take modo for a test drive. The ready-for-download package includes the modo in Focus series of eight introductory videos and a 100% feature complete version of modo 301.
Try the 30-day trial of modo 301 here
4) The Maya Personal Learning Edition is a free version of Autodesk’s software for non-commercial use. It gives 3D graphics and animation students, industry professionals, and those interested in breaking into the world of computer graphics an opportunity to explore almost every feature of Autodesk Maya Complete 8.5.
Try the 30-day trial of Maya here
5) Houdini Apprentice is a free, non-commercial edition of the Side Effects 3D software family. Just generate a key online to gain access to the full-featured shipping versions of Houdini Master, Houdini Select and Houdini Halo.The only minor differences are an output resolution of 640 X 480, a small watermark in the lower right hand corner of each render, and rendering limited to Houdini Mantra.A Starving Artist edition is available for $99.00 without a watermark that runs at HD resolution.
Try the trial version of Houdini here
6) The Autodesk 3ds Max trial version provides free access to the software for non-commercial use. To receive a free 30-day trial download, fill out and submit the online form.
Try the 30-day trial of 3ds Max here
7) Download a trial version of Electronic Rain’s Swift 3D package and you’ll be treated to all the features of this stand alone application, except its file export functionality, which is disabled. Rendered animations can, however, be previewed within the program.
Try the trial version of Swift 3D here
8) Download the Cinema 4D demo version online and explore Maxon’s powerful raytracing and animation tool. Scenes, movies, textures, preset libraries and browser catalogs can’t be saved in the demo version. Neither can references and layouts. Sketch and Toon won’t render images with a resolution greater than 640×480 pixels, and the NET Render module is not included either. BodyPaint 3D 3.5 is also available in demo form.
Try the trial version of Cinema 4D here
Developing 3D virtual cities direct from video
Sony PSP phone rumours
CyberCity in liquidation
Monday, 12 November 2007
Upcoming computer graphics-related conferences in 2008
8th International Symposium on SMART GRAPHICS (Rennes, France)
6th Symposium on Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering (NPAR) 2008 (Annecy, France)
EuroVis 2008 Joint Eurographics/IEEE-VGTC Symposium on Visualization (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
CGI 2008 Computer Graphics International 2008 (Istanbul, Turkey)
35th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (LA, USA)
12th International Conference Information Visualisation (London, UK)
5th International Conference Computer Graphics, Imaging and Visualization (Penang, Malaysia)
Seventh International Workshop on
Computer Graphics and Geometric Modeling CGGM'2008 (Krakow, Poland)
34th Graphics Interface 2008 (Ontario, Canada)
Laval Virtual 2008 International Virtual Reality Conference (Laval, France)
Friday, 2 November 2007
GPS in skiing
Console quality game graphics on mobiles?
Thursday, 1 November 2007
Virtual worlds a threat to values?
Friday, 19 October 2007
LOCUS project presented at Location And Timing event
Samsung Q1UMPCM01 Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC)
Cellphone use in-flight finally possible in EU flights?
Thursday, 18 October 2007
Microsoft research in device pairing: The Martini Synch
Computer Graphics And Imaging 2008 conference
SketchUp & 3D Studio Max real-world render
Sunday, 14 October 2007
GPS and social networking: Where are we now?
The obvious dangers of this aside (security being the key word here, despite reassurances from people running these websites, it is obvious to me how many pitfalls revealing a person's constantly updated location to the rest of the world can be!) there seem to be many opportunities with this since most users already using the aforementioned applications are looking for ways to further enhance them. While I wouldn't go as far as suggesting enrolling to one of these services, they are definitely trend-setters for a new market opening up.
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Wi-Fi T-shirt anyone?
Microsoft researchers patent new user interface for mobiles
Invited poster publication at Location And Timing event
All in all it was an extremely interesting day as all three projects (but also all the posters there too) were in the same general field and there was the opportunity to interface with other researchers and also gain feedback on all aspects of my work.
For more information on the Location And Timing, its agenda and activities plus information on past and future events check this link, http://ktn.globalwatchonline.com/epicentric_portal/site/lat/?mode=0.
Yet another combination of every day device & receiver; GPS and mouse
Thursday, 27 September 2007
3D virtual worlds for the blind
The initial project - called Accessibility In Virtual Worlds - is what the company describes as "a proof of concept" at this stage but will be passed on to IBM's Human Ability and Accessibility Centre in Texas for further development. The Irish team decided to use the Active Worlds online environment rather than the more popular Second Life for flexibility reasons. Active Worlds is a collection of user-made virtual worlds that people can visit via a web browser plug-in.
To offer a better insight on how this all works; "When the user comes into the world, the items are described as well as their positions," explained Colm O'Brien, one of the team of four researchers who worked on the project. "There is also sound attached - for example, if there's a tree nearby you will hear a rustling of leaves," said Mr O'Brien. The work also developed tools which uses text to speech software that reads out any chat from fellow avatars in the virtual world that appears in a text box. Characters in the virtual world can have a "sonar" attached to them so that the user gets audible cues to alert them to when they are approaching, from which direction and how near they are.
Thursday, 20 September 2007
In-car GPS navigation finally moving towards 3D?
Urban Environment Creation In Maya instructional DVD
- Hard Surface Modeling Techniques
- Modeling with Texture
- Modeling to a Camera
- Strategically Adding Detail
- Simulating Aging and Decay
- UV Layout Techniques
- Using UV Snapshots
- Integrating Maya and Photoshop
- Generating Displacement Maps
- Texture Painting with Photoshop
- Layering Textures
- Tiling Textures
- Generating Procedural Maps
- Adding Architectural Elements
- Creating Interior Illusions with Textures
- Connecting Maya Texture Nodes
- Complex Scene Management
- Scene Optimization for Rendering
GPS keyring anyone?
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
3D urban modelling used in vodka commercial
As you can see on the pic above and also the YouTube link, the ad in question chooses to portray the vodka as a flowing red liquid marching its way through the Russian capital, then onto Paris and then onto glipses of other capitals. The modelling throughout is superb and is very nicely complimented by some great camera work that really captures the detail of the urban meshes presented.
All in all, it is a very interesting piece of work that shows just how much of age 3D urban modelling has come the last few years in order to be picked as a concept to represent major brands in high-profile marketing strategies.
GPS equipped Asus laptop
That particular distinction goes to the company's new U3S laptop, which relies on NXP Software's swGPS system for navigation duties. Amongst other things, NXP's system does all the necessary GPS signal processing entirely in software, which not only allows it to be much smaller but also opens up the possibility of fairly significant software upgrades (including support for Galileo). From the looks of it, the laptop itself is also no slouch, with the usual Centrino Duo-related goods and some unspecified discreet graphics under the hood. Just don't expect "mainstream" to mean "cheap," with the laptop set to run €2,300 (or $3,200) when it's released later this month...
Still, something that will hopefully be a trendsetter, there's enough PDAs out there with built-in GPS, having computationally more powerful devices also come with one can only open up possibilities...
The festival has its roots firmly planted in the creative side of animation and computer games and acts to provide animators, directors, students, artists, designers, writers and educators with a forum in which they can share their knowledge and skills and promote the art of animation and games. Festival delegates are able to attend talks (often from very prestigious people in the area!), presentations, workshops, screenings and parties.
A short list of this year's activities includes an awards ceremony, an open-plan exhibition area, a dedicated to computer games special event, an animation lounge and a variety of technical workshops and tutorials. While the list of invited speakers for this year's festival is not yet confirmed (seeing that the festival is a few months away), last year's event included, most notably, Ed Hooks (a well known pioneer in acting training specifically designed for animators) and Eamonn Butler (long-time Disney employee) amongst others...
Whether you're an industry heavyweight, a freelancing artist, a new company, a student, a researcher or even if you're just interested in animation or computer games, Animex is the place to be in 2008. Since 2000 Animex has been pioneering events that make the festival a unique experience for all of its visitors and is not only worthy of support but also capable of capturing the imagination for a number of related research matters...
For more info on Animex 2008 (such as obtaining tickets) and Teesside University check the following links, http://animex.tees.ac.uk/ and http://www.tees.ac.uk/.
See you there!
New version of Softimage XSI
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Urban modelling via a multi-touch display wall
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
Spellbinder project: mobile snaps revealing invisible art
New version of 3D Studio Max out in October
This powerful new toolset gives you immediate feedback on various render settings, enabling you to iterate rapidly. This means you can now quickly hone in on your desired look without waiting for a software render—erfect for over-the-shoulder client/boss feedback sessions and other iterative workflows. Based on the latest game engine technology, Review delivers interactive viewport previews of shadows (including self-shadowing and up to 64 lights simultaneously), the 3ds Max sun/sky system, and mental ray® Architectural and Design material settings.
Monday, 13 August 2007
Dell Axim x51v and Windows Mobile 6
The video above (showing a Dell Axim x51v running Windows Mobile 6!) is the proof that user communities can sometimes overcome little issues such as devices getting obsolete by their manufacturer. It seems that a ROM is out there that allows the new version of the operating system to be loaded on the device. While I'd rather not post any links as to where one can find this ROM, it does reportedly provide Axim users with the capability of upgrade denied by Dell (albeit as a slighty more risque proposition, ROMs like this often tend to be incredibly buggy and are not really recommended). Moreover, it applies further pressure to the manufacturer to step up to the challenges of a still-existing customer base. Have I attemped the upgrade? No way, and I certainly won't as I am not convinced WM5 and WM6 differ greatly but also because I value my device way too much and will always wait for an official update from Dell...
Nintendo developing a new motion sensing portable device?
The housing of the system incorporates an XY-axis acceleration sensor to detect an acceleration in an X-axis and Y-axis direction and a Z-axis contact switch to detect an acceleration in a Z-axis direction. In diagrams (see pic above), the system has been represented by a Game Boy-esque figure, but it could well be that's just a temporary placeholder.
While it should be noted that mobile devices with motion sensors are certainly nothing new, this has been more or less limited to cellphones so far and seeing that a device capable of displaying more complex 3D graphics extend to include it as a viable interaction way is very exciting indeed! Time will show what Nintendo will make of this of course as this is a long way from implementation yet. Still, the idea alone sends the imagination reeling when it comes to potential applications...
Monday, 6 August 2007
Tutorial on creating a photorealistic 3D virtual city in under 5 minutes
First of all, you will need a version of Autodesk's 3D Studio Max to follow this quick tutorial. Also, you will need a copy of the excellent Greeble plug-in, developed by Tom Hudson. This is a modifier plug-in useful for generating random detail for everything ranging from spaceship models, cityscapes to Death Stars (!), which can be downloaded from http://max.klanky.com/ (to install it simply copy and paste the Greeble .dlm file in the 3D Studio Max Plugins directory).
Step 1: Create a plane in 3D Studio Max with say 25 Length and 25 Width. Make sure Edged Faces is on from the viewport options (very important!).Step 2: Apply an Edit Mesh modifier to the plane and then proceed to select every third or fourth row of polygons horizontally. Non-uniform scale these rows of polygons to 50%-60% of their size and then delete them. You have created horizontal streets in your random 3D city. Now repeat the process vertically in exactly the same way only this time it doesn't have to be in continuous rows. Remember we're trying to keep the appearance somewhat not-too-"blocky" looking and fairly randomized...
Step 3: Keeping this in mind move around some vertices here and there in the corners of all buildings to randomize the appearance of the cityscape further.
Step 4: Open up the Material Editor and in a new material slot create a Multi/Sub-Object material. Apply this to the cityscape plane. This is done in order to differentiate different parts of the cityscape. I usually use about 4-5 slots in this but let's keep it simple for this tutorial; use only two and name the 1st Base and the 2nd Garden. Assign a different sub-material to each; say a yellow-ish diffuse color for the Base and green for the Garden.
Step 5: Now under the Polygons selection of the Edit Mesh modifier, assign different material IDs to polygons accordingly. The easy way to do this is to select all polygons, assign them as ID1 (Base) and then select the few Garden polys you want and assign ID2 to them (you will see that the Garden ones turn green while all others remain yellow in color). Finally select ID1, all the Base polys that is.Step 6: Apply the Greeble plug-in! You probably have what is more or less a random 3D city by now. With a few minor tweakings you can get it even better but even the default settings should be good enough! I usually set Taper to 0, make sure I use all 5 Widgets available, with their Density set at 5 etc.
As you can see, it is fairly simple and time efficient to achieve results such as this for purely random visualisations. Obviously the shortcomings of this are obvious (for starters geographically it is difficult, nigh-on impossible to adapt this technique to a more realistic GIS-driven target) but this method (and the Greeble plug-in itself!) take some beating in the time/quality of result ratio for purely "beauty" renders. (Also do bear in mind that I've tried to keep this really really simple, there are many ways to build on and improve on the few steps described above, by no means is this definitive, feel free to experiment!).
For a future tutorial I will concentrate on the production of expressively rendered (i.e. in a non-photorealistic manner) views of 3D urban models, check the pic above for a cartoon-shaded view of an urban model...