The Art of 3D Modeling at Digital Portsmouth

Last night I spoke a bit about how 3D models are used in games. Thanks to Josh Cyr and Monte Bohanan for having me for the Digital Portsmouth event.

Josh kicked us off with a small talk on how 3D Modeling is crossing industry lines. His example was Decentraland.

Decentraland uses 3D Models, the concept of real estate, Virtual Reality, and the Blockchain so the Users can create, experience, and monetize content and applications. It’s a virtual world, that you can buy and sell land on. The land you own is yours. You can do whatever you can imagine with it.

So 3D is a part of this equation, and it’s really interesting to see the combination of these technologies. I believe that was the spirit of the event, learning a bit about 3D and seeing how it may cross over into seemingly unrelated industries.

There were two other speakers, Jared Foley from Tangram, speaking on 3D for Architecture. And Harish Vashisth from UNH speaking on 3D for medical visualization.

Both the other speakers did great jobs, and it was interesting to hear about their constraints. For example, medical simulations have no room for error, and take so long to process. We’re talking about months to simulate what turns out to be 30 seconds of animation. They’re figuring out how cancer works, and things of that nature. They have to be extremely precise.

The Architecture industry is at a really interesting point. Of course, the expectations for visualizing these kind of experiences are high quality, and realistic in nature. City planners, and corporations building new spaces and buildings need to see the work in the context of the real world. The pre-rendered techniques of raytracing, and long render times are still in play. For example it could take hours or days to render one image. Of course, this care is taken to achieve the look of reality.

Games, in general, have a lot more room for error. We’re simulating things to create animation, but in real-time. The player can’t wait for the simulation to catch up to the gameplay. So. we’re using physics, and the modern results are stunning. But in the context of the situation. That character’s cape simulation looks great! But that simulation isn’t figuring out how things bond at the molecular level. It’s secondary to the gameplay. It’s not saving lives.

The advances from the games industry are making their ways to other spaces of course. With the advances in GPU processors that were largely born of creating better immersion in games, Medical teams are building newer kinds of simulation / render farms to increase speed. Architecture is looking to the advances in Photo Based Rendering that’s the norm in modern games to achieve high quality results, and move towards more of a real time experience.

Of course the reverse it true, the entertainment field has always borrowed from the Medical field for simulation techniques, and architecture for rendering techniques. Amongst other things.

I used to be a Technical Artist in the games field. I can see how someone with those skills could help the other industries. Tech Artists job opportunities are extending beyond games; for example a friend of mine just joined FaceBook as a Tech Artist. I think Tech Art extending outside of games this is a great thing for a number of reasons. Too many to list in this post. But pointing back to the sprit of last nights talk, for sure.

It’s amazing to me that with all the advances in computing power, the medical field simulations take so long to complete. Harish said we don’t yet have enough processing power to fully represent how the ebola virus looks & works in 3D, for example.

That’s one of those things that is startling, and makes me feel so small. There’s so much we don’t understand. Yet, I’m inspired as well. There are so many smart people using technology to better understand our world.

There was a great QA after the talks, and several people came up to discuss how 3D might impact their own work. That was really refreshing.

Thanks to those who made it out. I’m happy to talk more about these topics. Email or tweet me.