Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 5

This week we started with a discussion of two 3d capture tools:

  • 123d catch can reconstruct a mesh based on a collection of 20-40 photos of a scene. You can download the .obj file from their website after the data has been processed. 123d catch can be used at all scales, limited by your camera rather than the scene.
  • reconstructme uses your kinect to create high-accuracy meshes (higher accuracy than any single kinect scan). reconstructme is best for human-scale objects and indoor scenes.

And we moved on to exploring projection mapping. There are two major paradigms:

  • Illusion-based mapping: where you try to create the appearance of a false geometry to a scene, for example by providing a "window" into a space, extruding or indenting features from a surface, creating false drop shadows, etc. The 555 Kubik facade is a clear example of this technique. Illusionistic mapping is incredibly popular, but doesn't translate to real life as well as it translates to the single perspective of web-based video.
  • Augmentation-based mapping, which has been around since at least 2006/2007 with Pablo Valbuena's "Augmented Sculpture" series. This technique does not create false geometry, just false lighting effects. Shadows and reflections are generated only as if the surface was responding to virtual light sources. Colors are used to "paint" the surface rather than for the sort of trompe-l'œil of the illusionistic approach.

One of the earliest examples of projection mapping is more illustionistic, without being as cliche as most projection mapping today: Michael Naimark's "Displacements" from the early 80s was based on shooting video in a room with actors, painting the entire room white, then reprojecting the footage.

There are a number of tools available for projection mapping. Here are a few:

  • vvvv is Windows-only but used by visualists around the world for creating massively multi-projection live visuals using a patch-based development interface. The strength of vvvv for projection mapping lies in its preference for 3d visuals, and in real time feedback while prototyping.
  • madmapper is not meant for generating content, but for mapping pre-rendered content or streaming real time content via Syphon. madmapper provides an interface for selecting masks, duplicating video sources across surfaces and projectors, and warping projections to match nonplanar surfaces.
  • little projection mapping tool shares a similar spirit to madmapper, but is built with openFrameworks and the source code is available for learning or hacking.
  • mapamok uses a different paradigm, oriented towards separating calibration from content creation. mapamok loads a 3d model, and allows realtime editing of a shader to determine the look and feel of the projected visuals. Calibration is handled via a quick alignment process that requires selecting 8-12 corresponding points.

The assignment this week is simply: create and document a compelling projection mapping project. You may work with the tools we discussed in class (123d catch, reconstructme, madmapper, mapamok) or build your own. Try to break out of the paradigm of using a projector for creating a "screen". Instead of projecting onto a 2d surface of a 3d object, try projecting across an entire 3d scene, or covering an entire 3d object. Think about whether you want to make something more "illusion" oriented, or "augmentation" oriented: what aesthetic are you more interested in? Consider the difference between fabricating an object specifically for projection mapping, versus scanning/measuring an object that already exists. Think about what an interactive version of your system would look like.

At the beginning of next week's class everyone will briefly present documentation from their projection mapping project.

Setting up reconstructme

First install "OpenNI-win32*.msi" then "SensorKinect-wind32*.msi" then "ReconstructMe_Installer*" and, finally, get the OpenCL.dll file if you see an error when trying to run reconstructme.

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