Always Something New

Always Something New

realistic-light-rendering-1This is a CGI image!  For all intents and purposes, this appears to be a three dimensional object in a photograph. New technologies are created every day, and not just in medicine, engineering, or computing.

It was developed at U C San Diego’s Jacob’s School of Engineering. If you don’t know, computer graphic images employ algorithms to model light reflecting off a surface. The new technology runs nearly 100 times faster than current programs. Algorithms in the early days smoothed out fine details in order to run fast enough, but today those images look stilted and almost retro compared to what we expect of today’s images.

Using microfacets, like millions of microscopic mirrors, details could be smoothed out but took enormous amounts of computer power to run the algorithm. By creating a predictable location for the light to reflect, only lights that fall in that location are picked up to be processed, thereby speeding up but using an less power than would have been needed without the ‘vector’ if you will. For a bumpy surface, such as a road or a stream, the system picks up groups of pixels rather than calculating them one by one.

For those who like even more details of this kind of nerdyness, I found the article, and there are more pictures, too, at www.gizmag.com (where I stole the above image of a snail, which came from UCSD). If you really want to know more, you should high tail it over to Anaheim and get to SIGGRAPH which is going on right now (and here’s another link)

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