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

Google Wave

Watched the video of the new technology Google announced. This looks really interesting. I love the part about the history in emails and chat. How many times did you have to search through email, sms, skype chat history etc. to find that one statement of somebody or a link to something…

Google Wave will keep track for everybody and everything. Let’s hope the whole conspiracy theory stuff is a myth tho 🙂

Google Wave presentation
Google Wave Wiki (English)
Google Wave Wiki (German)
In depth information on Google Wave

Microsoft Natal

Just a short note on this “new” technology.

Microsoft has started to attack the Wii from Nintendo with the project Natal. Read More…

I remember seeing a video that showed someone sword fighting with his finger and of course I saw Bill Gates Talking at the D5 conference in 2007 about his “last” vision for Microsoft is in Vision Programming.

quote: “So 3D is a way of organizing things, particularly as we’re getting much more media information on the computer, a lot more choices, a lot more navigation than we’ve ever had before. And we can take that into this communications world where the PC is playing a much more central role, kind of taking over what was the PBX, sort of one of the last mainframes in the business environment. That will be a big change that will come to it. And as we get natural input, that will cause a change. … Software is doing vision and so, you know, imagine a game machine where you’re just going to pick up the bat and swing it or the tennis racket and swing it.”

Natal is the first device that will actually release that does marker less tracking in an affordable price range. Of course there was the Z-Cam from 3DV, but now that Natal has surfaced it’s clear why Microsoft has bought them up.

I hope that their developers come up with more creative ways to use the motion interaction as some developers do for the Wii.

Google released open-source 3D API for the web

Could this be the one that changes the game? Google has released a 3D API, Quote by Google: “O3D is an open-source web API for creating rich, interactive 3D applications in the browser. This API is shared at an early stage as part of a conversation with the broader developer community about establishing an open web standard for 3D graphics.”

Read more here…

We’ve seen many formats and efforts of bringing 3D to the web in the past. At the begining there was vrml 1.0. I was very excited and built a lot of things in Power Animator and exported it to vrml inclusive authoring. Vrml 2.0 had animation, multi textures on one node and many more features like proximity sensors and 3D sound. I was especially impressed by “Floops” (unfortunately I found no usable links on Floops – anyone – comment?) created by Brad de Graaf for SGI (Silicon Graphics).

Later on vrml was replaced by X3D. X3D is an xml based file format and was supposed to widely spread and the plans were to create exporters for many applications in the animation and cad sector.

I’ve played with X3D and the Flux Player. Flux Player now merged into Vivaty but is still available to download here. I will put my experiment online soon… Stay tuned.

I am really hoping that this will finally kick of some serious business for 3D on the web. It’s about time I think. The bandwith, the gfx power on peoples machines and the technology is here. Now that Google has picked it up it has a real chance to succeed. What do you think?

LEGO – squash and stretch to the ugly…

I wrote up an article one day because I am constantly getting annoyed by the ignorance of producers and animators towards the legacy of Godtfred Kirk Christiansen the son of the founder of the LEGO Group. To me the LEGO figure is molded with rigid plastic. Bringing those figures to live by deforming them destroys the look and feel. Read it here…

Now this Intro page to the upcoming LEGO 3D Digital Universe is probably the worst I have ever seen. Watch the mini figure in red dancing and bowing, errrmm… hitting his head to the floor. And mind the broken geometry on the arm when he’s waving…

Here’s a screencapture (1.8 MB QuickTime movie) of  the LEGO Universe Intro (In case it changed…)

Here’s a more elaborate 3rd party article on the LEGO Universe followed by a very good comment written by a fellow co-worker at SPU Darwin and a dear friend of mine Christian Greuel. (NOTE: This is coming from the web archive website. Please be patient, it will load for a while.)

P.S. This text, nor any text on this web site are related, recognized or endorsed by/to the Company “LEGO® Group”. LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies.

Lightwave Test

After doing the last watch animation in Lightwave I did a small test in Lightwave at home. I think Lightwave is a very good software. The main reson for me to get into Lightwave tho is that it has this very impressive plugin renderer that really blew my mind.

I tempted to underestimate anything else than Maya but I had to learn a lesson. Once you overcome the horrible interface you will meet a lot of stability, expandability and ease of use.

This is just a stupid test but the main thing for me was to do an outdoor scene using fPrime.

Cart Racer - Lightwave test
Lightwave Test

3D Internet – The future?

What if a website would be completly in 3D? I made the experiment and created this test using the X3D modeling package called Vizx3D. Media Machines (Tony Parisi) acquired Vizx3D and released later an application called Studio3D based on X3D.

You will need the newest installer to play this experiment. Get it here. Vivaty has taken over from Media Machines and has finally developed a plugin that also works in FireFox.

Update January 2016: Vivaty was bought up by Microsoft and their products and gallery were discontinued. More info also here. The player is now downloadable as part of this package.

Note: If you install the “SetupFluxPlayerStudio2-1.exe” from this package it will install the Flux Studio 2.1 and the Flux Player. Flux Studio is an interactive X3D authoring tool.

Warning: Although the Flux Player install will crash and report that FireFox is open and the plugin cannot be installed, the player will be installed. You can find it in the start menu under “Media Machines, Inc”. I can confirm that it runs on Windows 7.

If you run it you can then open the URL: http://fullframestudios.ch/AREA/X3D/files/index_04.x3d to see the demo I did 8 years ago.

Be aware, this is completely experimental and I don’t take responsibility if it crashes your computer.

 

My basic idea was to transport the regular experience of browsing a website into 3D space plus add a little more excitement.

X3D_Images_01

Continue reading 3D Internet – The future?