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Porky Gorky

LOOK AT THIS!

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That is very cool. And what's as impressive as the guided recognition of the objects being edited is the automatic patching of the background. It wasn't always perfect, but it was remarkably good (unless they cheated on some of the examples).

LIDAR (Laser Interferometry Detection And Ranging, akin to RADAR)  is getting very cheap and increasingly capable. The latest XBOX Kinect uses Time Of Flight (TOF) hardware to measure distances to points in the scene. As that technology improves, expect to see systems that can reconstruct what they see with far less guidance than we witnessed in this video.

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Pretty cool.  As others have already pointed out, it's less than perfect, but it's certainly impressive.

Of course, it's nothing that any moderately compentent human 3D artist couldn't do better, using just about any 3D modeling program, plus Photoshop.  It would just take the human a little longer that way, of course.

It'll be interesting to see how quickly this sort of technology evolves to the point where the automation actually can match, or even surpass, the human artist.

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Chosen Few wrote:

It'll be interesting to see how quickly this sort of technology evolves to the point where the automation actually can match, or even surpass, the human artist.

Indeed. And when you consider the implicaitons of this technology combined with 3D printing, in 10 years time anyone with the approproate kit could possibly create a 3D model and print it out with only a mininal skillset. 

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Cool. What is it?

It is a new piece of Software that is going to be demo'd at SIGGRAPH in November of this year, SIGGRAPH is a large annual graphics conference  To be honest there is not much more info I have found beyond that, although I didn't look for long. I expect there will be allot more reviews of this software come Nov. 

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Porky Gorky wrote:

Indeed. And when you consider the implicaitons of this technology combined with 3D printing, in 10 years time anyone with the approproate kit could possibly create a 3D model and print it out with only a mininal skillset. 

 Tea, Earl Gray, hot!

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I went looking to see if the software was avilable. It isn't. Nor will it be for some time. For now this is a research project. The developer is patenting the tech.

I first saw this on Jo Yardley's blog. When researching it I found some other fun things: 3D Modeling Made Easy

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Chosen Few wrote:

Pretty cool.  As others have already pointed out, it's less than perfect, but it's certainly impressive.

Of course, it's nothing that any moderately compentent human 3D artist couldn't do better, using just about any 3D modeling program, plus Photoshop.  It would just take the human a little longer that way, of course.

It'll be interesting to see how quickly this sort of technology evolves to the point where the automation actually can match, or even surpass, the human artist.

Really, these are all just tools. If something can do half, or most of my work for me, why not use it. I think I got better artistic things to do than stretch squares and cylinders. With any complex model, each part of the process can get as time consuming as the artist wants. When you add in rigging and animations, you are talking 1 pretty long process to completion.

Plus, the real next gen technology that we are all starting to see everywhere in 3D creation is camera based systems. With a camera based object creation system, you have total control. I remember a few years ago when this guy argued with me about the best motion capture systems on the market. I claimed that sensor systems, with those suits and balls all over you, were outdated and will soon be old technology. He laughed. Today, the motion capture system that I use puts my body in the program with my video image over it. It's literally me, in the 3D scene, with a 3D skeleton inside me.

Rofl, who know? Maybe, this all comes full circle and now we are all modeling actual clay models again. Like the Gods, we create men out of clay again!

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Dayum.

I have always thought 3D software was insanely difficult to learn and create with, and wondered when someone would figure out an easier way.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Dayum.

I have always thought 3D software was insanely difficult to learn and create with, and wondered when someone would figure out an easier way.

Yep, and it's happening everywhere. Apple's map "Flyover" facility is an automated 3D reconstruction of 2D aerial views based on terrain geometry obtained from numerous sources. It's like Occipital's Structure Sensor writ large. There's a huge market for the virtual reconstruction of RL for use in "augmented reality", and that's providing the incentive for these products.

While we might feel like SL is leading the way, I think it's following... by quite a distance.

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On the one hand I am a bit sorry to see my brutally hard won Blender skills rendered antique, but in reality (as I knew from the first moment mesh appeared on the horizon) the flood of ripped mesh has already rendered that as good as done. (Stores that have been famously and unequivocally outed for their thievery continue to be feted in the SL Blogosphere, so no stigma whatsoever.) 

So what it will come down to is competition based on texture, scripts, animation, customer service, and taste, not actual building or modeling. 

 

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Pamela Galli wrote:

On the one hand I am a bit sorry to see my brutally hard won Blender skills rendered antique, but in reality (as I knew from the first moment mesh appeared on the horizon) the flood of ripped mesh has already rendered that as good as done. (Stores that have been famously and unequivocally outed for their thievery continue to be feted in the SL Blogosphere, so no stigma whatsoever.) 

So what it will come down to is competition based on texture, scripts, animation, customer service, and taste, not actual building or modeling. 

 

Don't forget Land Impact.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

Rofl, who know? Maybe, this all comes full circle and now we are all modeling actual clay models again. Like the Gods, we create men out of clay again!

 Funny you should say that.  Virtual clay was developed right here in Buffalo, nearly 10 years ago.  As far as I know, it never ended up amounting to anything beyond a cool university science project, which is a shame.  Obviously, there's a lot of potential for the idea.

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Pamela Galli wrote:

Dayum.

I have always thought 3D software was insanely difficult to learn and create with, and wondered when someone would figure out an easier way.

Careful what you define as "easier".  Keep in mind that this particular tech is only really meant for manipulating photos.  It's highly unlikely that the resulting models would be in any way game-ready.  It still takes a human artist to optimize a model properly, so that it will work well in a game or virtual world.  There are all kinds of factors to consider, besides just the outward appearance.

As Medhue well put it, these things are tools.  They're not meant to supplant the 3D modeling process, but to enhance it.  To someone who already understands how 3D modeling works, there's a lot that could be done with models generated in this new way.  But to someone who thinks this will be a way out of having to first develop that understanding, it's only going to cause a whole new set of problems.

Here's a comparison that may help.  When the airbrush was invented, a lot of non-painters looked at the results artists were getting with this new tool, and assumed the tool was the reason the paintings looked so good.  Some of those people went out and bought airbrushes, assuming it was "easier" than traditional painting.  You know what those people discovered?  There's nothing actually "easy" about it.  If you don't know how to paint, you don't know how to paint.  The presence or absence of an airbrush won't change that.

By the same token, if you don't know how to 3D model, you don't know how to 3D model.  No matter what tools come out to make the job "easier", you'll never be able to do much with them if you don't first develop the skills that every single 3D artist needs to have.

 

 

I'm sorry to hear that you find all 3D modeling software to be so difficult to use. I know from your posts that you've forced yourself to come a long way with it.  Not everyone would have been as tenacious as you've been, so I'm glad you did stick with it.

The best advice I can offer to anyone getting started who also finds it difficult is that it's like learning a musical instrument.  It takes time and practice.to master.  If it were a guitar or a violin, you'd have all the same mental anguish, plus your fingers would bleed, the first few times.  Since it's just a computer program, you won't bleed, but it will still be a steep learning curve.

By its very nature, every art form is mysterious and painful for anyone who is brand new to it.  In the beginning, the only way to get started is by brute force, just making yourself do it, even though it's hard. 

The key is to focus on the journey, not the destination.  As I so often say, if your goal is "I want to know how to make ______," it's going to be very, very frustrating, no matter what the blank happens to be.  But if your goal is simply "I want to learn the basics of this software, step by step," then it becomes a pleasure.  That blank will fill itself in, automatically, after you've mastered the basics.

Most people who follow that step-by-step approach from A to B to C, and so forth, get competent within a few weeks, and really good in about 18 months.  Those who try to rush it by skipping around invariably remain frustrated forever.

Interestingly, that same time schedule applies to most musical instruments, so the analogy holds up pretty well.  If you get started learning the guitar today, you'll be strong enough to strum a few chords within a few weeks.  Practice faithfully every day, and you'll be good enough to play in a band in about 18 months.  You won't be able to compete yet with people who have been playing for 20 years, of course, but you'll certainly be able to hold your own.

 

I do realize "practice, practice, practice" probably isn't what anyone who's frustrated wants to hear.  But it's the only truth I've got. :)

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Pamela Galli wrote:

On the one hand I am a bit sorry to see my brutally hard won Blender skills rendered antique

Your skills have not been, and never will be, rendered antique. 

First, there will ALWAYS be a need for 3D artists, no matter how sophisticated these kinds of automated tools become.  As we've been discussing, they are just tools.  They don't replace the artist.  They merely offer the artist another way of doing things, among the multitude of methods that already exist.

Second, it's the responsibility of every single person in every single field to keep up with the changes to and in that field.  When the power saw was invented, carpenters who stubbornly clung to hand saws weren't able to compete for very long.  Likewise, a 3D modeler who only learns one piece of software, and then stops learning, won't last very long either.  Change happens.  We all have to embrace it, or perish.

 


Pamela Galli wrote:

but in reality (as I knew from the first moment mesh appeared on the horizon) the flood of ripped mesh has already rendered that as good as done.

I couldn't disagree more.  The fact that some people rob banks doesn't mean the rest of us shouldn't put our money in banks.  The fact that some people steal music doesn't mean that musicians shouldn't keep making music.  And the fact that some people steal 3D models doesn't mean modelers should stop making models.

In every category, there will always be people who will take what doesn't belong to them.  That's no reason to be defeatist.

 


Pamela Galli wrote:

So what it will come down to is competition based on texture, scripts, animation, customer service, and taste, not actual building or modeling. 

I agree with you on the customer service and taste part, but not on the other things.  Textures, scripts, animations, and every other item you can think of, can all be ripped. 

What cannot be stolen or duplicated is YOU. 

Business is about relationships, not about things.  Your customers will come back to you because of the service you offer them, and the consociation you develop with them. 

 

 

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The other vital part of the equation, of course, is talent.  You can practice the violin for years, but you'll never make it to Carnegie Hall unless you're in Joshua Bell's end of the gene pool.  You can also spend every waking hour learning how to handle an airbrush or Photoshop, become a highly competent technician, and still not end up producing artwork for the Louvre.  As a longtime fan of science fiction, Chosen, you will recognize Doc Smith's well-worn line,"We can't all be the first violin in the orchestra.  Some of us have to push the wind through the trombones."

That's not to say that you have to be a world-class artist to have fun and create beauty.  Personally, I have no such delusions, although I like to think that I have enough talent to hold my own against refrigerator art.  Practice does make a difference.  Without it, even the gifted artist will remain in the shadows.  With practice, some of us can do wonderful things with our middling talent and can bring joy to our lives and to people around us.

Still, universities are full of marginally talented art majors with high hopes, getting excellent instruction and plenty of practice but not destined to make more than a tiny splash in the art world.  Practice is a sine qua non, but it takes talent to be Picasso.

 

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Dang!  Back to the shallow end of the pool.

Actually, though, I bet I can make an Instant Chalkboard at least as good as that one.

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Rolig Loon wrote:

Dang!  Back to the shallow end of the pool.

Actually, though, I bet I can make an Instant Chalkboard at least as good as that one.

Yep, and I bet you can.

Did you ever notice that all the cool floaty toys are over in the shallow end?

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I get your point, Rolig, but I don't fully agree. I don't consider raw talent to be particularly important, myself.  While you and the good Doc are certainly correct that there can only be one first violinist in any orchestra, those trombonists wouldn't be there either, if they hadn't practiced, and practiced, and practiced, until their lips bled, regardless of their talent levels.

Allow me to respond to your quote with another:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race".  

-- Calvin Coolidge

Whether one is destined to be in the front or the back of the orchestra doesn't matter, in this regard.  My point was simply that without practice, one gets nowhere at all.

Of course, one does have to practice the right things.  The most naturally talented person in the world will fail, if he or she practices bad technique.  Conversely, a person with little or no natural talent can succeed at just about anything, given enough time and practice of good technique.

 

Since you brought it up, allow me to share my feelings on talent.  I'm not convinced it actually exists.  Let me explain. 

At an early age people called me a "talented" artist, because I was able to intuit how to draw well, without having been taught.  But the reality is anyone on this earth who has functional eyes and hands can be taught to get the same results I got.  Drawing is simply an ability the human species possesses.  For whatever reason, some people discover it on their own, and some need to be taught first, but everyone can do it.

(Anyone reading this who thinks you can't draw, trust me; you can.  Literally, everyone can, given the right training.  Read the book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," and then practice what it teaches.  Your results will surprise you.  I've seen it happen for more people than I can count.)

On the flip side, I was also an "untalented" singer, for most of my life. But that all changed just a few years ago, the day I met the right teacher.  In our first meeting, he told me, "All I do is show people how to make the sounds that every human being is capable of making."  What I had never before known was that singing is as much a science as an art, and the science part was what I'd been missing for all those years. My teacher, who has devoted his life to the subject, possesses a deep understanding of the physics and physiology of the voice, and week by week, he imparts that knowledge onto me.  Now that I know what to practice, I keep getting better and better and better.

The singer in my band, on the other hand, is "talented".  He's never had a lesson in his life, plays no instrument, has had no musical training whatsoever, and yet he's one of the best singers I've ever known.  For years, I was envious of his voice.  I still am, but not nearly as much as I used to be.  Now that I'm armed with the knowledge I've gleaned from my lessons, and all the practice I've done, I can now (on a good day) sing nearly as well as he can.  In a few more years, I'll be better than he is now.

So, what can we conclude about "talent", in a reality where "untalented" artists can be taught to produce the same quality artwork as "talented" ones, and "untalented" singers can be taught to sound just as good as "talented" ones?  My best conclusion, as I said, is that talent doesn't really exist.  When someone intuits a skill, we call it "talent", and when someone else learns the same skill, we call it technique.  Either way, the end product is the same, so what does it matter?

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