Thursday, January 30, 2014

Shader Toy

This post has been loooooooooooong overdue but I wanted to talk a little bit about Shadertoy. Shadertoy is a web based shading test bed that you can use to play around with shader ideas and prototype techniques that you're interested in. You can also share your code results on the website so that everyone can see how you came up with your awesome techniques. A lot of really brilliant shader developers share their awesome code for all to use and the shader language in the site translates pretty well into other applications with a few key word changes here and there.

I love this site so much as it is a great example of what technical art is all about. Making something beautiful with code and design and sharing your achievements with friends and colleagues.

Here's a link to the site

Hit the jump to see some of my favorite example shaders!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ptex: No more needing to UV models to begin texturing!

I wanted to bring up this awesome tech that Disney put out. Ptex is a system that allows you to texture models without the need for UV's. In a production, a texture artist can start working on actually texturing their models without the previous dependency of creating UV's first. Disney began developing this years ago and were able to first implement it in the movie Bolt. It's a really nice way to work especially because in the past, you would need to blindly UV your models and kinda guess which areas should get more UV real-estate. Now you can texture your model first and make informed decisions when UV'ing your model later on in the pipe.

Why not just skip UV's altogether? Well not all systems support Ptex. We have Autodesk and SideEfx supporting this tech as well as the various in house tools that Disney and Pixar work with at the moment. Currently the tech is spreading out and will probably be supported by game engines and other renderers soon. Disney did a decent job documenting the progression of this project here.

Hit the jump to see the latest video demonstration of Ptex using Mudbox.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Otronicon 2014!

Last weekend was phenomenal! I volunteered at the EA Sports experience booth at Otronicon 2014 and had a blast doing it. Otronicon is a science and technology fair held in the Orlando Science Center for kids to come and see the cool stuff that local studios and companies do on a daily basis. EA had a great showing with all sorts of booths. We did a photo shoot for kids, an augmented reality booth, a facial mocap booth, a 3D facial scan booth, and a bunch of fun games made available for everyone to play. I personally manned the 3D facial scan booth for the weekend. It was really fun to see how people responded to seeing 3D models of their faces generated on the spot after taking pictures. Like any science fair, there were also tons of 3D printers and I couldn't resist. I got my body scanned and printed too! Very fun event held every year. For anyone living in the Orlando area, I highly recommend going to this event. 

Hit the jump for more info from their site and pictures!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nvidia Tegra K1! Super computer in your mobile device.

I was honestly not expecting anything truly special to come out of 2014 in terms of ground breaking progress in my industry but of course Nvidia had to go and pull this stunt. During CES 2014, Nvidia came out and revealed their new Tegra processor. Basically Tegra is the most powerful mobile processor on the market boasting a quad core processor that was previously inconceivable. I was expecting the new line of Tegras to be more of a suped up Tegra 4 with a faster quad core processor and that could handle maybe some limited DirectX11 features. Instead we got the K1.

This chip is so powerful that Nvidia does not consider it a successor to the Tegra 4. In fact this processor is not 4, not 8, not even 12 cores but 192! That is the muscle of a super computer that you leave remotely in some silo in silicon valley. This is a revolutionary piece of hardware! Nvidia was able to pack all this power into one mobile chip using the keplar architecture which was previously only used on super computers. You can basically do anything you want graphically on a tablet if it's powered by one of these things. Epic Games  has actually set up their Unreal 4 engine to work with this chip and were able to see all of their brand new feature sets that we were drooling over last year on a tablet.

There's no cloud computing happening here. Everything is running on the tablet in real-time. The hardware is so powerful that it's comparable to some of Nvidia's best desktop graphics cards. Nvidia aims to completely merge the gap between desktop and mobile architecture, allowing you to develop the best looking product and expecting it to simply work on your tablet and computer with no downgrading.

I'm still really taken back by this announcement. I think this is one of the greatest game changers in computer technology. Not just because mobile computing has almost completely caught up to everything else but because individual machines can potentially have the power to take on super computers. I never thought I would see that gap bridged this soon.

Also did I mention this is just the 32-bit model? Nvidia is also coming out with a 64-bit model called Denver! Even more power?! I can't even!!! <FAINTS>

Hit the jump for to see the reveal as well as some UDK demos on a tablet using the Tegra K1!