SIGGRAPH Exhibition 2010 Advances the World of 3D

 

SIGGRAPH 2010 Exhibition: Advances the World of 3D

By Brandon Moore

The Exhibition was full of excitement this year, with over 160 vendors showing off their contributions to the world of computer graphics and interactive techniques.  Overall, the SIGGRAPH conference was able to attract over 22,000 attendees, providing a great venue for companies to sell their new products to industry professionals and enthusiasts.  The show floor remained busy as companies raffled off their products and handed out novelty items.  Others gave "conference only" discounts while most provided interactive demos and talks that explained their new products. The dominant theme on the show floor was 3D technology, ranging from motion capture equipment to revolutionary software.


The Artec Group (http://artec-group.com/) is one of the companies creating technology that is advancing the way we capture the 3D world.  Their developments involve real time 3D scanners that can be utilized in multiple applications such as medicine, archaeology, sports, and biometric security.


  Sergey Suhovey, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Director of Artec Group, explained the unique applications of the technology he helped develop over the past 10 years. "Old Navy is currently using the technology to create their mannequins," said Suhovey. "Professionals in medicine are also using it to treat spinal disorders by scanning patients in order to create customized back braces. Before this technology doctors relied on a plaster method that wasn't always accurate."


The 3D scanning process is easy to use and provides a fast and efficient method for capturing 3D data. As proof of its speed, Artec Group decided to scan Michelangelo's David. The scanning process took only 5 hours while a previous method resulted in a 6-month process. Suhovey also noted that the demand for the technology is increasing and business for Artec Group has been growing as a result. Attendees who approached the booth were captured with the scanner while dancing and given the data on their flash drives.  The best dance will be featured on the company's website.   


Another company that stood out was Pixel Farm Ltd. (www.thepixelfarm.co.uk), a group of developers who specialize in match moving (the technique of integrating 3D computer graphics into live footage matching the correct position, orientation and scale of the objects with the live footage).  They introduced a new addition to their software line called PFMatchit, a node based program that vastly improves the methods of camera tracking for the VFX industry.


"The goal with the new software PFMatchit is to give current Pixel Farm clients and the market a very attractive new entry point in match moving using a node based architecture at a highly attractive price", said Ron Prince of Pixel Farm Ltd.  "This new architecture will provide a foundation for future products to come."  The software is highly customizable and will adapt easily to current studio workflows.


Daryl Shail of Monster Matchmovers was at the booth giving demonstrations of how the software has improved his workflow.   "Artists get a new powerful way to do things in a logical fashion," said Shail. "The new node architecture allows artists to experiment through a trial and error process until they receive the results they want."  With the company introducing the software at the price of $700, they are confident that their match moving and tracking software will attract the VFX market.


Organic Motion (http://www.organicmotion.com/) is another company that is advancing the way we interact with 3D computer graphics.  The company has created a technology that utilizes motion capture and applies it to how we interact with a computer. The technology strictly uses cameras (without the need for markers or a motion capture suit). It captures the participant's movements in real time which can then be monitored directly in a program on the computer.  


Andrew Tschesnok, founder and CEO of Organic Motion explains his passion for the product he developed over the years. "Our goal is to create computers that can see people," said Tschesnok. " It allows us to understand the person and how he or she is interacting with the environment. The technology is about human interfaces."   The demos at the booth demonstrated the simple set up for the capture system and idea of being able to quickly enter and exit the system without the inconvenience of putting on a motion capture suit or markers. The technology is currently being used in the military and will eventually make its way to the consumer level, according to Tschesnok. "It is also being used in a clinical setting by studying the movement of patients with conditions such cerebral palsy and muscular disorders, "explains the CEO.  Other applications of the product include education, sports, performance, and animation.  


With the Exhibition now in the past, the world of computer graphics has welcomed some new additions to a market demanding intuitive, powerful technologies that benefit the way we work.  Over the next year these new products will be tested, while inspiring other developers to advance and improve the way we interact with computers and technology.                 

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