The ultimate device?

About a year ago I found this company out of California that was about to release what I would call the ultimate device for 3D/6D tracking. They announced back then that they will release this device for the mass market with Razer.

They showed it at CES in 2010.

Now finally it seems that the device is about to be released.

To me this device has the potential to become the ultimate device because it uses very reliable magnetic hardware for the tracking. But the most important is that they include two handheld controllers that include buttons but mostly I really like the price!!

We actually went to reputable companies in the tracking industry back in 2003 and wanted them to build exactly this device. Unfortunately we fell about 200k short to have them engineer this on our behalf 🙂

Piece of history – a lesson to be learned?

Recently a friend pointed out to me that there is a site on the internet that keeps track of web pages and archives snapshots of them.
This thing is called “The way-back-machine” .

I went ahead and checked out several websites of things I was involved with. One thing I would like to post here is the page of my dear friend and business Partner Dan Mapes who had this up in 2001: Virtual Camera (Be warned: Takes a while to load)

Sometimes I wonder if the Cameron’s of this world get their inspiration from way-back.

P.S. Here is the full article on the system.

Software Vault

I wanted to share some great tools I recently bought.

ShaderMap

First there is ShaderMap. ShaderMap creates textures for displacement, normal, ambient occlusion, specular and DUDV maps for refraction. After test driving and evaluating CrazyBump and ShaderMap my choice fell on ShaderMap. First, the price… A full version of ShaderMap is $20 vs. $200 for CrazyBump. But not only the price was an influence. I think the interface of ShaderMap is vay superios than Crazybump. In ShaderMap all the functions are right at your finger tip. All the different maps are in the same pane. I didn’t like the step-by-step approach the CrazyBump interface has.

Both programs create great maps. At the end of the day the interface decided the winner here even though the interface is not scalable it is more organized than CrazyBump.

ShaderMap
CrazyBump

 

 

 

 

 

 

faogen

Sitting and waiting for any 3D app to render is tedious. The word “mental” in a certain renderer is synonymy for the state of it’s users…

I was looking for an alternative to bake AO passes and found one: faogen (Fast AO Generator)

It uses the graphics card to render the ambient occlusion. While the user interface is simple and easy it also allows the more experienced artists to fiddle with more advanced things as the shader that is used to AO bake etc.

I just want nice looking AO maps in no time and that is exactly what faogen does.

The following images show what took me 5 minutes to do. Opening the geometry (A) rendering with default settings (B) and adjusting the settings a bit. The five minutes includes rendering btw.

Step A
Step A
Step B
Step B
Step C
Step C

 

 

 

 

 

 

Win a X2R2 on LinkedIn

This is just a reminder that you can win a X2R2 system from Motion4U. The contest is held on the “Professional Maya Users” group on LinkedIn.

If you are using linkedIn, join the “Professional Maya Users” group and then go to the discussion with the title: “Website Feedback Request and Contest New 3D Animation Software Release for Maya
Continue reading Win a X2R2 on LinkedIn

Xaelander Hardware photos

I pulled out my 30 year old 16’000 w/s Broncolor 404 studio flash light system today and shot a few product photos.

I used a Nikon D700 from a friend and set the light table up for the accessories. The table unfortunately was not big enough for the shots of the bars but by rotating the plastic surface around 90 degrees I was able to create a panoramic white surface behind the object i photographed.

Here’s a shot of the setup using the light table. I occupied my boys room and converted it to a photo studio for the weekend.

LEGO Research Showreel 1995 – 1998

This is where it all started…

This video is from the time at LEGO (1995 to 1998) and shows work Dan and I were involved in during this time. It documents what was happening in respect to human interaction in 3D space at LEGO and goes all the way to real time movie making with digital LEGO. It visualizes the vision we carry when we create a product like Xaelander for Motion4U.

The very first bit of the video shows an early prototype that was realized in collaboration with David Small which was at MIT at this point. As soon as the gentlemen in the yellow suit pops up you’re looking at Scott from Multigen that uses SmartScene. In the second part of the video there is footage from the castle demo of the WIZard group at SPU Darwin (actual name of the demo was “Batlord’s Castle”). In there you will also see Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen the owner of the LEGO Group (gentleman in the blue-shirt with tie and the VR headset).

So if you’re in for the short read, watch the vid, follow the links above and check out what you can get out of this today. If you care about background, history and tech-babble … keep on reading 🙂

LEGO - RealTime Movie Making

Continue reading LEGO Research Showreel 1995 – 1998

Xaelander – Previz in Maya

I just completed recording a small animation in Maya using the new Xaelander X2R2 hardware testing the upcoming Xaelander software release.

I think it documents nicely what the Xaelander software suite is capable off. It demonstrates animating a walk cycle on the primary character and animating the secondary character. The powerful two point 3D camera tracking and animating a special effect by capturing motion onto a locator.

I look at the short video and think “Even if I captured every part ten times, I created that animation in about 20 minutes. An experienced storyboard artist could probably come close nailing that shot in 20 minutes. But a previz animator should never ever have to just float his characters around anymore – they should make them walk around.”

Xaelander - Maya Previz

Motion4U @ Siggraph 2009

We had our own small booth @ Siggraph 2009 in New Orleans. And yeah the gorgeous woman in the gold suit belonged to us 🙂 I am amazed how underrated the “booth babe” concept is these days.

Motion4U booth @ Siggraph 2009 "Booth-Babe" @ Siggrpah

Here’s Vizworlds photo gallery covering a lot of the show. You’ll also find this picture in case you did not remember her eye color 😛

Motion4U – What is BurstMode?

Here’s a little flash anim posted for historical reasons and sharing.

It’s explaining different operations that can be done in BurstMode.

Left Mouse Button = Object Manipulation
Middle Mouse Button = Camera Manipulation
Right Mouse Button = Burst Fly Mode

Check out the Flash below. Beware it loads for a while…

FlightCabin_03