Elpub buttonVirtual Reality News: 2nd January 2002

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Users, Applications & Projects
01 Under the Skin of the Ford Explorer
02 Cult3D Ships with ATI

Quote of the Issue
03 CEO of SGI
Products & Services
04 New Emitters for Stereoscopic Viewing
05 Real-Time 3D Character Animation
06 Plug-Ins for trueSpace5
07 Plug-In for Softimage Users
08 3D Toolkit for OSX

Patents & Standards
09 3D Animation and Surface Modeling (Alias|Wavefront)
10 Sorting 3D Object Geometry (Microsoft)
11 3D Character and Background Control (Nintendo)
12 3D Character Modeling (Pacific Data Images)

Companies & Markets

13 SGI to Market GeoProbe

Worth Watching
14 Worth Watching

Events & Calls for Papers

178.01 Under the Skin of the Ford Explorer

Viewpoint Corporation and J Walter Thompson, the advertising agency, have announced that Ford Motor Company will be "test driving" Viewpoint's Experience Technology for an i3D tour of the 2002 Ford Explorer. Ford is using Viewpoint for assistance in demonstrating some of the innovations on the new Explorer - features that are difficult to describe with pictures and words alone. Viewpoint developed an interactive demonstration of the Explorer's independent rear suspension, side curtain air bags, power adjustable brake and acceleration pedals, and disappearing third row seat. Using animated, on-demand, rich-texture graphics and text together, SUV shoppers are provided with a comprehensive, compelling demonstration of Explorer's key features.

"Because so many of Explorer's advantages are 'under the skin,' we are excited to have found a way to help Web shoppers experience this great new vehicle. It's the next best thing to a test drive," says Ed Molchany, Ford Explorer marketing manger. Viewpoint worked with J Walter Thompson, Ford Division's advertising agency, out of Detroit, USA.

URL: http://www.fordvehicles.com
URL: http://www.viewpoint.com

178.02 Cult3D Ships with ATI

Cycore's Cult3D visualization software is now being shipped with each of ATI's RADEON 8500 boards. ATI Technologies began shipping the Cult3D Viewer plug-in on its driver CD in early October as an automatic part of the RADEON 8500 install process. ATI was one of the first brand name companies in North America to incorporate Cult3D models into its website strategy. Now, a year later, ATI is taking its relationship with Cycore a step further by incorporating Cult3D into its business strategy through mass plug-in distribution. The Cult3D Viewer plug-in; required to view interactive 3D models created using Cult3D software, is automatically downloaded to a user's computer once they install an ATI RADEON 8500 card. ATI has also included a Cult3D model of its RADEON 8500 card on its website. To date the number of Cult3D viewer downloads exceeds 11 million, with an average of 150,000 downloads a day since December 1, 2001.

URL: http://www.ati.com/na/pages/products/pc/radeon_8500/index.html
URL: http://www.cycore.com

178.03 Quote of the Issue: CEO of SGI

"There are more than 550 SGI Reality Center facilities around the world, over 120 of them in the energy sector," says SGI CEO Bob Bishop. "The future of the oil and gas industry lies in the visualization of huge amounts of complex data and borderless collaboration of oil industry professionals, resulting in significantly improved decision making and reduced business risk."

178.04 New Emitters for Stereoscopic Viewing

StereoGraphics has announced a family of emitters for stereoscopic viewing environments. These new emitters work in conjunction with any of StereoGraphics Stereo3D products, such as CrystalEyes 3 shuttering eyewear and ZScreen panels and projection systems. Three new emitters are being introduced, each serving a different user's specific needs. The E-2 emitter is a standard VESA-compatible work area emitter for desktop use with a 12ft. maximum I/R (infrared) range and replaces StereoGraphics E-PRO; an adapter and external power supply are provided as needed for specific UNIX configurations. The ELR-2 long-range emitter offers the same maximum I/R range (20 ft.) and spread (90 degrees) as the ELR that it replaces, yet now features an output connector enabling simplified daisy-chaining for multiple emitters.

An accessory kit is available for users desiring to set up multiple ELR-2s in large venues, with the advantage that a single external power will power up to 4 emitters. The EXXR is an extra long-range emitter (70 ft. maximum range) with a broad IR spread (110 degrees), making it ideal for rear-projection active stereo installations as the emitter can be located behind the screen while still providing the wide coverage needed for large audiences. Power and stereo sync signal are provided through a 3-pin connector terminal, enabling simple in-field connections. The EXXR comes with a universal power supply and may be purchased in bundles of 3 for use in CAVEs and other immersive VR environments.

URL: http://www.stereographics.com

178.05 Real-Time 3D Character Animation

Kaydara has released FiLMBOX 3.2, the latest version of the company's real-time 3D character animation solution. With an enhanced user interface and workflow, FiLMBOX 3.2 introduces new features offering 3D artists a solution for both keyframe and motion-capture-based character animation for game, film, TV, and Web productions.

URL: http://www.kaydara.com/

178.06 Plug-Ins for trueSpace5

Caligari Corporation has announced fxPak, a collection of seven third-party special effects plug-ins and programs for Caligari trueSpace5. With fxPak, trueSpace users can create smoke, fire, water, haze, particle effects, complex shader effects, and other advanced special effects.

URL: http://www.caligari.com/

178.07 Plug-In for Softimage Users

Electric Rain Inc has announced the release of a plug-in version of their Swift 3D standalone product that offers SOFTIMAGE|XSI users the power to render 3D scenes directly from SOFTIMAGE|XSI to a variety of vector-based file formats, including Macromedia Flash (SWF), AI, EPS, and the latest XML-based Web standard, SVG. Swift 3D XSI is built around Electric Rain's proprietary rendering technology, RAViX II, which converts 3D scenes into vector-based 2D files.

URL: http://www.erain.com

178.08 3D Toolkit for OSX

dvGarage has developed the 3D Toolkit for OSX. The 3D Toolkit is a visual training system that ships with a full version of the Electric Image's Universe software developed specifically for the 3D Toolkit, which was used to create 3D effects in "Star Wars: Episode 1" and other blockbuster productions. It is designed to teach 3D principles and techniques to visual artists at all levels and in all industries. The OSX upgrade will ship with Electric Image's Universe 3D Toolkit software for OSX. The disc will also include project files for the 3D Toolkit tutorials and selected dvGarage website tutorials, all converted to the OSX 3D Toolkit format.

URL: http://www.dvgarage.com
URL: http://www.electricimage.com

178.09 Patents: 3D Animation and Surface Modeling (Alias|Wavefront)

A number of Alias|Wavefront employees have recently been granted patents from the US Patent Office for innovations in 3D animation and surface modeling software development. The technology inherent in the five patents has already been applied to the company's software families, Maya for the entertainment industry and StudioTools for industrial design. Alias/Wavefront now holds a total of 30 patents for its technical achievements in computer graphics. Patents were awarded to Jos Stam and Duncan Brinsmead, for inventing a method of producing fluid-like animations using a rapid, stable Navier-Stokes solver; Dick Rice and Craig McPheeters, for generating a curve through points residing on underlying geometries in a three dimensional space; Dick Rice and Nikki Rohm, for developing curve and surface modeling based on point cloud data; Peter Liepa, for devising a system and method for generating planar maps of three dimensional surfaces; and Jos Stam, for inventing a method for modeling light reflected from anisotropic and diffracting surfaces.

URL: http://www.aliaswavefront.com

178.10 Patent: Sorting 3D Object Geometry (Microsoft)

Microsoft has been awarded US Patent 6326964 for a "Method for sorting 3D object geometry among image chunks for rendering in a layered graphics rendering system. You can read an extended description on the VREfresh web site.

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

178.11 Patent: 3D Character and Background Control (Nintendo)

US Patent 6331146 has been awarded to Nintendo for a "video game system and method with enhanced three-dimensional character and background control." You can read an extended description on the VREfresh web site.

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

178.12 Patent: 3D Character Modeling (Pacific Data Images)

Pacific Data Images has been awarded US Patent 6326972 for "3D stroke-based character modeling suitable for efficiently rendering large crowds." You can read an extended description on the VREfresh web site.

URL: http://www.VREfresh.com

178.13 SGI to Market GeoProbe

Landmark Graphics Corp and SGI have reached an agreement to jointly market GeoProbe software and SGI Reality Center facilities. The GeoProbe software was developed by Magic Earth. Under the agreement, Landmark will provide the overall project leadership, application software and software-related consulting services; SGI will provide the hardware, display system and consulting services associated with setting up the environment. Halliburton Company, founded in 1919, is the world's largest provider of products and services to the petroleum and energy industries. The company serves its customers with a broad range of products and services through its Energy Services Group and Engineering and Construction Group business segments. Halliburton owns both Landmark and Magic Earth.

URL: http://www.magicearth.com
URL: http://www.lgc.com
URL: http://www.sgi.com
URL: http://www.halliburton.com

178.14 Worth Watching

The Nikkei Business Daily has reported that Toshiba Corp has developed an x-ray computerized tomography (CT) unit that enables the inside of the human body to be observed as three-dimensional moving images. The new system, which the company says is the first in the world to commercialize 3D video CT technology will increase the precision of examinations and in the future could allow physicians to perform surgery while viewing images of the interior of the body. In addition to use in examinations, the company intends to cultivate a new market for the machine as a system that aids in medical treatments.

Toshiba plans to begin testing the machine at a university hospital as early as March 2002, and hopes to have it ready for marketing in three to five years. At present, several minutes are required to compose the moving images, but the company ultimately hopes to display 3D moving images in real time by boosting data processing speeds. The system will likely cost around 1.2 billion yen, on a par with existing high-end CT systems. Toshiba has positioned 3D animated CT as a strategic product in its efforts to expand its medical equipment business, and aims to capture an industry-best 30% share of the world CT market by 2005.


178.15 Events

For extensive information about events relevant to the European VR/i3D community, see the events pages on El.pub: for Europe: base05.htm, for the rest of the world: connone.htm


About VREfresh news
Each edition of virtual reality news is now published on a separate page, ensuring that links (particularly from VREfresh) continue to remain current. To view news from previous issues, please use the navigation buttons below.
VREfresh
Email alerter of news items and associated URLs, send an email with your name, organisation, country (and for the US a zip code) to the Editor via the link above.
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