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32 Articles

Image-Based Material Editing

Another interesting topic: Image-Based material Editing

Material Edit Animation

Photo editing software allows digital images to be blurred, warped or re-colored at the touch of a button. However, it is not currently possible to change the material appearance of an object except by painstakingly painting over the appropriate pixels. Here we present a method for automatically replacing one material with another, completely different material, starting with only a single high dynamic range image as input. Our approach exploits the fact that human vision is surprisingly tolerant of certain (sometimes enormous) physical inaccuracies, while being sensitive to others. By adjusting our simulations to be careful about those aspects to which the human visual system is sensitive, we are for the first time able to demonstrate significant material changes on the basis of a single photograph as input.

Graphics Research Group - Central Florida

While browsing papers that are scheduled for presentation at Siggraph 2006, came across an interesting link to the Graphics Research Group in the School of Computer Science at the University of Central Florida.

From the Realtime Caustics project


Topics under research include:

  • realtime rendering
    • Real-time Caustics Rendering
    • Interval Mapping: A Fast per-pixel displacement rendering technique.
    • GPU assisted Global Illumination
    • Beyond Triangles: GPU Ray Caster
  • Material Design Interface
    • BRDF-Shop: An Artistic Tool for Creating Physically Correct BRDFs
    • Maya-PBRT
  • realistic rendering
    • Radiance Caching
    • Real-time Rendering of Dynamic Objects in Dynamic, Low-frequency Lighting Environments
    • Non-Iterative, Robust Monte Carlo Noise Reduction
    • A Novel Hemispherical Basis for Accurate and Efficient Rendering
    • Perceptually Based Efficient Rendering
    • Global Illumination Computation
  • HDR imaging
  • mixed and augmented reality
  • Image completion
  • color

Another topic which caught my eye is BRDF-Shop


We present an interface for quick and intuitive development of arbitrary, but physically correct, Bi-directional Reflectance Distribution Functions, or BRDFs. Our interface, referred to as BRDF-Shop, provides artists the ability to create a BRDF through positioning and manipulating highlights on a spherical canvas. We develop a novel mapping between painted highlights and specular lobes of an extended Ward BRDF model. The implementation of BRDF-Shop utilizes programmable graphics hardware to provide a real-time visualization of the material on a complex object in environment lighting.

Read more about BRDF-Shop in the attached document

Concepts Unlimited

CSI (CADDSoft Solutions Inc.) have released Concepts Unlimited version 3.

Concepts Unlimited targets Macintosh® and Windows® design communities who need fast, flexible, and intuitive tools for turning ideas into precise 2D and 3D designs.

But the thing that caught my eye was the description regarding their photo-realistic rendering capability:

Typically creating photo realistic renderings requires a certain level of expertise regarding the lighting, reflection, and refraction associated with a scene. Version 3 eliminates this necessity for beginner users with the introduction of Rapid Render Environments. Now all users can quickly create impressive renderings with a press of a button by choosing either a metal, plastic, glass, or mirror render environment. These new rendering tools do all the work for the user with respect to adding lights, materials, drop shadows, and environment maps; turning everyday users into rendering wizards.

For those users wanting more control over a scene, Version 3 adds the ability to drag and drop environment maps into scenes. An environment map is a 2D image that is reflected back onto 3D objects. Environment maps are a great feature for adding visual realism to a scene without having to generate and position additional 3D objects.

The photo rendering tools can be combined with the newly introduced animation tools which can be used to explode assemblies or to simply animate objects and cameras along paths.

In particular, the description of

renderings with a press of a button by choosing either a metal, plastic, glass, or mirror render environment

SGI - going, going, gone?


The once dominant giant of the workstation industry is hitting hard times.

They have moved to reduce their debt by approximately $250 million and have filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy code. The company expects to emerge from Chapter 11 within 6 months.

Read the Press Release at

'We want to assure our customers, our employees and our communities that SGI is operating-business as usual,' Dennis P. McKenna, the recently appointed, Chairman and CEO of SGI, stated. 'Our customers can continue to rely on SGI for its mission-critical products, services, and support.'

SGI is a leader in high-performance graphics workstations and is located in Mountain View, California and can be found on the web at

NVIDIA® Gelato®

Gelato® is a software program that uses the NVIDIA® GPU as a floating point math processor to provide hardware accelerated rendering.

Visit the Gelato home page

and/or read the Gelato FAQ

Gelato can be downloaded and used for free. Nvidia's aim is to enable high-quality rendering for everyone: 'Render Everywhere' appears to be the theme.

Geomerics - wavelet lighting/shadowing technology

by Mick 0 Comments

Geomerics is a Cambridge based company specializing in advanced graphics and physics technology.

At this years Game Developers Conference (GDC) they are announcing a new solution to overcome problems faced by game developers with lighting and shadowing technology.

Its system handles dynamically changing lighting environments, moving objects and changing viewing angles. The technology also allows for dynamic specular effects to be integrated into the same pipeline.

Geomerics has utilized the power of ‘geometric algebra' to provide exciting and innovative solutions to geometric problems in real-time. This technology is poised to transform computer graphics in gaming, providing a major step-change improvement over the current state-of-the-art in terms of speed, achievable effects, and ease of programming - its also GPU friendly.

Further details appear a little sketchy at the moment, perhaps following the GDC, more information will become available. One to watch in the future

NVIDIA and Havok

by Mick 0 Comments

NVIDIA and Havok are to demonstrate the Worlds first GPU-powered Game Physics solution at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California (21-24 March).

Havok FX is designed for GPUs supporting Shader Model 3.0 which includes the NVIDIA GeForce 6 and 7 Series GPUs.

You can read the Press Release at

or other reports on the development at the Inquirer - Nvidia SLI Physics is a fat pipe dream

or the Nvidia SLI Physics Technology Report at