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Nvidia Pulls off ‘Industrial Light and Magic’-Like Tools | EE Times

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The president of VMware said after seeing it (and not knowing what he was seeing), “Wow, what movie is that?” And that’s what it’s all about — dispersion of disbelief. You’ve heard me talk about this before, and we’re almost there. I famously predicted at a prestigious event three years ago that by 2015 there would be no more human actors, it would be all CG. Well I may end up being 52% or better right (phew).    – Jon Peddie

via Nvidia Pulls off ‘Industrial Light and Magic’-Like Tools | EE Times. Jon Peddie has covered the 3D animation, modeling and simulation market for YEARS. And when you can get a rise out of him like the quote above from EETimes, you have accomplished something. Between NVidia’s hardware and now its GameWorks suite of software modeling tools, you have in a word created Digital Cinema. Jon goes on to talk about how the digital simulation demo convinced a VMWare exec it was real live actors on a set. That’s how good things are getting.

And the metaphor/simile of comparing ILM to NVidia’s toolkits off the shelf is also telling. No longer does one need to have on staff computer scientists, physicists and mathematicians to help model, and simulate things like particle systems and hair. It’s all there along with ocean waves, and smoke altogether in the toolkit ready to use. Putting these tools into the hands of the users will only herald a new era of less esoteric, less high end, exclusive access to the best algorithms and tools.

nVidia GameWorks by itself will be useful to some people but re-packaging it in a way that embeds it in an existing workflow will widen the level of adoption.Whether that’s for a casual user or a student in a 3D modeling and animation course at a University. The follow-on to this is getting the APIs publishedto tap into this through current off the shelf tools like AutoCAD, 3D StudioMax, Blender, Maya, etc. Once the favorite tools can bring up a dialog box and start adding a particle system, full ray tracing to a scene at this level of quality, things will really start to take off. The other possibility is to flesh out GameWorks in a way that makes it more of a standalone, easily adopted  brand new package creatives could adopt and eventually migrate to over time. That would be another path to using GameWorks as an end-to-end digital cinema creation package.

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Apple patents hint at future AR screen tech for iPad | Electronista

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Apple may be working on bringing augmented reality views to its iPad thanks to a newly discovered patent filing with the USPTO.

via Apple patents hint at future AR screen tech for iPad | Electronista. (Originally posted at AppleInsider at the following link below)

Original Article: Apple Insider article on AR

Just a very brief look at a couple of patent filings by Apple with some descriptions of potential applications. They seem to want to use it for navigation purposes using the onboard video camera. One half the screen will use the live video feed, the other half is a ‘virtual’ rendition of that scene in 3D to allow you to find a path or maybe a parking space in between all those buildings.

The second filing mentions a see-through screen whose opacity can be regulated by the user. The information display will take precedence over the image seen through the LCD panel. It will default to totally opaque using no voltage whatsoever (In Plane switching design for the LCD).

However the most intriguing part of the story as told by AppleInsider is the use of sensors on the device to determine angle, direction, bearing to then send over the network. Why the network? Well the whole rendering of the 3D scene as described in first patent filing is done somewhere in the cloud and spit back to the iOS device. No onboard 3D rendering needed or at least not at that level of detail. Maybe those datacenters in North Carolina are really cloud based 3D rendering farms?

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A Conversation with Ed Catmull – ACM Queue

EC: Here are the things I would say in support of that. One of them, which I think is really important—and this is true especially of the elementary schools—is that training in drawing is teaching people to observe.
PH: Which is what you want in scientists, right?
EC: Thats right. Or doctors or lawyers. You want people who are observant. I think most people were not trained under artists, so they have an incorrect image of what an artist actually does. Theres a complete disconnect with what they do. But there are places where this understanding comes across, such as in that famous book by Betty Edwards [Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain].

via A Conversation with Ed Catmull – ACM Queue.

This interview is with a computer scientist named Ed Catmull. In the time Ed Catmull entered the field, we’ve gone from computers crunching numbers like a desktop calculator to computers doing full 3D animated films. Ed Catmull’s single most important goal was to created an animated film using a computer. He eventually accomplished that and more onced he helped form up Pixar. All of his research and academic work was focused on that one goal.

I’m always surprised to see what references or influences people quote in interviews. In fact, I am really encouraged. It was about 1988 or so when I took a copy of Betty Edward’s book my mom had and started reading it and doing some of the exercises in it. Stranger still I want back to college and majored in art (not drawing but Photography). So I think I understand exactly what Ed Catmull means when he talks about being observant. In every job I’ve had computer related or otherwise that ability to be observant just doesn’t exist in a large number of people. Eventually people begin to ask me how do know all this stuff, when did you learn it? Most times, the things they are most impressed by are things like noticing something and trying a different strategy in attempting to fix a problem. The proof is, I can do this with things I am unfamiliar with and usually make some headway towards fixing a thing. Whether that thing is mechanical, or computer related doesn’t matter. I make good guesses and it’s not because I’m an expert in anything, I merely notice things. That’s all it is.

So maybe everyone should read and go through Betty Edwards’s book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. If nothing else it might make you feel a little dislocated and uncomfortable. It might shake you up, and make you question some pre-conceived notions about yourself like, the feeling you can’t draw or you are not good at art. I think with practice, anyone can draw and with practice anyone can become observant.

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Toshiba 3D flash chip

Toshiba currently bonds several traditional flash chips into a multi-chip stacked package. The Apple iPhone 3GS is an example of one manufacturer using this seemingly cutting edge technology. In one chip Toshiba has achieved 32GBytes of storage. But size is always a consideration for portable devices like cell phones. So how do you continue increasing the storage without making the chip too thick?

Enter the nirvana of 3D CMOS manufacturing. SanDisk and Toshiba both have aquired companies who dabbled in the 3D chip area. And I’m not talking multi-chip modules, stacked on on top of  another in a really thin profile. These would be laid down one metallic layer at a time in the manufacture process, achieving the thinnest profile theoretically possible. So if you are like me and amazed that 32GBytes of Flash can fit in one chip, just wait. The densities are going to improve even more. But it’s going to be a few years into the future. Three years of development and research is going to be needed to make the 3D Flash chip a manufacturable product.

The basic idea is to stack layers of flash memory atop one another to build a higher capacity chip more cheaply than by integrating the same number of cells into a single layer chip. The stacked chip would also occupy a smaller area than a single layer chip with the same capacity.

via Toshiba hopes for 3D flash chip within three years • The Register.