Re: Siggraph 2

From: michael rees (
Date: Tue Jul 28 1998 - 21:32:54 EEST wrote:
> This week marked 3D System's first appearance at the Siggraph trade show.
> Familiar faces included Pat Lanfier, Scott Tompson, Linda Burton, Michael
> Rees, and Bill "Tupper feeling" Morgan.

Yup, I was there!! It was great to see rp companies there. I've always
felt that the 3D graphics animation industry is an important rp market.
I talked a bit with a small company called "LIttle Giant", who is
offereing rp to the film industry in various incarnations. Who knows, we
may hear a lot from this company for they seem to be an early adopter of
rp technology in the film industry. Stratasys was also there.

With the speed of Z corps printer, one wonders why they're not hitting
this market hard.

> Cool things:
> Intergraph showed a force-feedback sculpting input device that was hidden
> behind a tilted mirror that showed reflection of your work going on in the
> virtual world.

Another company called "Sensable" has a nifty force feedback haptic
device. Not only could you feel around and edit the part from the
outside, you could also do it from the inside. The device is really like
a haptic mouse in the shape of a pen. They are looking for reasons to
develop software for it that is applicable for a wide range of
applications. And looking for companies to partner with.

> 3D was head-scanning people along with a company called Real3D then building
> their heads on the Actua.

One of the most interesting things about this is that it was done from a
video display, not the usual laser deal.

> Alias/Wavefront showed some pretty cool fabric simulations in Maya just
> begging to be converted to STL

Alias has definitely put their animation market first. The Maya modeler
will not do the things industrial designers would want. In the meantime,
Alias Studio is in version 9 with a general promise to port it to NT
within 1 year. With all the confusion of writing Maya for NT as well as
sgi, and the possibility that sgi may go away because of this, one
wonders about the reliability of the information. (no alpha versions)

Meanwhile, softimage has no interest what so ever in an industrial
design product. They are after alias's animation market with a vengance.
I spoke to 3 or 4 different softimage people who didn't have the vaguest
notion of why an industrial designer would be interested or what their
needs would be. They do not have a stl file format and no significant
information about what the iges format contains.

I am particularly interested in medium to low end modelers.

Nichimen Graphics has a $99 polygonal solids modeler. The sales rep I
spoke to told me "You didn't hear it from me but the 3D modeler has come
out on Nintendo's Gameboy in the japanese market only." I think rp
companies should seriously take a look at the $99 modeler if only to
anticipate the skill abilities of kids who fool around with it. Maybe
they should bundle a copy with all their other rp software for people to
take home to their families and to play with at 3 am waiting for a part
to finish. This may help to plant seed in the potential hobby rp market.

Poser is another program which holds some promise in this area. You
import various existing 3d models into the program and pose/manipulate
them. They can be anything but currently they are all animals and
humans. Its a great interface but no file formats other than their own
proprietary one.

Form Z's version 3.0 has a new patch modeling tool. This is a strong
addition to a strong modeler. Very very nice stuff. (granted I'm a form
z-a-phile). Some new navigation tools and a more intuitive tool palette
arrangement. Primitive object characteristics are user defined allowing
for nurbs or polygonal objects. They are implementing the acis kernel in
3.0. The new navigation tool is a bit disappointing.

Rhino was literally the last booth in the hall, they'll be coming out
with the commercial version by late september at US$795.Otherwise no
news to report.

Electric image, an animation program with a long history (terminator 1),
has been bought by another company and is still struggling with its acis
kernel modeler. Reportedly its out to final beta. It does offer some
wonderful features including patch modeling, but the demo froze
everytime the guy tried to show it to me. Its got a nice interface and a
great rendering engine. They have announced that it will be available
for $895. This is a serious modeler if they ever get it working. It is a
solids/surface hybrid nurbs modeler. From what I've seen, if they get it
working, it would bury Rhino. Much more sophisticated.

A couple of graphics board manufacturers merged. The oxygen 404 card is
coming down in price dramatically (thats a 4 processor card!!).


michael rees SCULPTOR
1212 w 8th St. Bldg B #2, 	816 753 3020 voice
KC, Mo 64101			816 753 1542 fax

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