Issue No.01 - January-March (2011 vol.18)
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MMUL.2011.15
<p>This article features some of the latest advances in multimedia technology.</p>
Virtual motion capture system
The OptiTrack Insight VCS optical virtual camera system is designed for previsualization and production in game and computer graphics projects.
A two-part system, the Insight VCS consists of a hardware camera rig and software interface. As the hardware rig is tracked throughout the motion capture, volume level, absolute 6 DOF position, and orientation data is streamed live via a software plug-in, to either Autodesk MotionBuilder or Maya, which then drives the virtual camera within the 3D application. Real-time reference video is streamed out of MotionBuilder or Maya back to the VCS display, creating a low-latency visual feedback loop, similar to the viewfinder of a digital camera.
To ensure compatibility with a variety of production pipelines, Insight VCS has a universal option for interoperability with any existing optical motion capture system—including OptiTrack, Vicon, and Motion Analysis—that can track marker-based rigid bodies and stream data to Autodesk MotionBuilder.
Insight VCS with camera rigs range in price from $199 to $5,000. Software plug-ins for MotionBuilder and Maya cost $1,000. The universal plug-in for other motion capture systems costs $2,000. For more information, visit www.optitrack.com.
Software for hairstyling and makeup
Soft Xpansion released Beauty Studio 5 and Hair Master 5. Hair Master 5 is designed to make it possible to test new hairstyles or new colors using mouse clicks. The program offers 500 ready-to-use hairstyle designs. Beauty Studio 5 is made up of two styling applications in one program: apart from Hair Master 5, it includes Makeup Styler 5. This program is designed to help create makeup concepts. One hundred complete styles (matching combinations of hairstyle, makeup, and accessories) are included.
In both programs, new looks can be saved as a project or image file, printed, or sent by e-mail. With the new versions, it's possible to integrate images into Facebook and Picasa photo albums or publish them as avatars in Twitter. Other features include the ability to load existing photos from a file, scan them, or import them from a digital camera; the ability to recognize facial features to place hair, makeup, and accessories more accurately; the ability to add hair highlights with up to three different colors; and the ability to add makeup elements such as lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, and rouge.
System requirements are Windows XP/Vista/7 (32-/64-bit), a Pentium 4 processor or faster, at least 512 Mbytes of RAM, and a 128-Mbyte video card.
More details on the two programs are available at http://en.virtual-hairstudio.com/.
Google Sketchup plug-in
Pointools released a plug-in for Google SketchUp that is designed to streamline scan-to-model workflows for SketchUp and SketchUp Pro by enabling reuse of the largest point cloud models, and by providing a solution to create 3D city models from mobile scan data.
Like the Pointools plug-ins for Rhino and AutoCAD applications, the Pointools plug-in for SketchUp is designed to eliminate the need for time-wasting translations, maintain visual quality and accuracy of point cloud models in SketchUp, and increase modeling productivity by reading the Pointools POD model file format to display billions of points on screen.
Google SketchUp is a modeling program originally designed for architectural, civil, and mechanical engineers as well as filmmakers, game designers, and other design professionals.
For more information visit http://pointools.com/.
Interactive 3D content sharing
Strata Live 3D CX 2 is designed to enable one-click publishing to the cloud and the ability to distribute, share, and embed interactive, 3D content on the Web and as Adobe PDF.
The Live 3D cross-platform, Java-based application is designed to allow viewers to experience products in a virtual 3D environment with the ability to rotate, zoom, measure, and interact with a model's features and options.
Each license of Live 3D comes with a free subscription to StrataLive3D, a system that allows publishing and provides free hosting for interactive 3D content. Once published, the interactive 3D content can be shared on popular social-networking sites or embedded anywhere on the Web using a snippet of code, much like the code used to embed YouTube videos in other Web pages.
Models can be imported from a broad range of 3D applications and can include basic animation to produce interactive sequences. These sequences can then be built into scripts using Live 3D's menu-driven interface with no code writing necessary, allowing designers to publish anything from simple rotations to complex 3D simulations and assembly visualizations. Live 3D includes plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop that export artwork and 3D layers to the Web and PDF. Additional high-end features, such as polygon reduction, are designed to help produce efficient streaming projects.
Strata Live 3D CX is available as a standalone application, or as part of the Strata 3D CX Suite for Mac and PC. Visit http://www.strata.com/ for more information.
iPhone and iPad 3D-content tool
3D Systems Corporation netfabb Mobile is a new iPhone and iPad 3D content-to-print, view-and-edit application available for download through the Apple store. The free 3D-content tool is designed to let users view, share, and edit 3D files on their iPhone and iPad. 3D Systems is bringing this application to market in collaboration with netfabb as part of its effort to broaden access to 3D content-to-print tools.
More information visit http://www.3DSystems.com.