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Qslugs
08-28-2003, 06:44 PM
I was wondering why I haven't heard much updated info about lattice deformers in messiah. I came across the info I posted below. Lyle or Fred (or whomever may know the answer to this), is this the reason why we have yet to see lattice deformers in messiah?

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606.7 Viewpoint Announces Free-Form Deformation Patent Licensing by Rob Glidden

If Viewpoint Datalabs has its way, patent issues may soon effect many corners of the 3D field, from the next generation of 3D clip art and 3D standards to avatars, character animation and hardware acceleration.

In case you didn't know, free form deformation (FFD), used by virtually every sophisticated modeling and animation package on the market, is a patented technology. Viewpoint Datalabs owns the patent (No. 4,821,214, filed April 17, 1986, issued 4/11/89, to expire April 2006) which it acquired in 1994 from Dr. Thomas W. Sederberg and Brigham Young University. FFD and GE's Marching Cubes patent are potentially significant patents that have been lurking in the 3D software background for some time.

At SIGGRAPH, Viewpoint announced the first FFD licensee (Kinetix, see below), a licensing structure ($.25 to $40 per unit), and hints at Viewpoint's ultimate vision for FFD ("a critical link in creating "smart models" and 3D geometry standards").

Free-form deformation, in Viewpoint's patent terms, is a lattice (think 3D jungle-gym) of points around an object. The lattice points influence the points of the object--move the lattice points and the object changes shape.

You may think of FFD as the "car-through-a-keyhole" or "dancing-credit- cards" technique, but its potential could go deeper.

Viewpoint notes that FFD can be used to enhance "the realism of computer generated character animations such as the folding and bulging of skin".

And even more, according to Martin Plaehn, Viewpoint press: "Free-Form Deformation technology is a critically important method for bringing realism to computer modeling and animation--such as lifelike moving characters and avatars in new design, interactive education and entertainment applications. . . . Additionally, this patented method can be meaningful when incorporated into underlying hardware chip sets needed to accelerate computer graphics performance."

What are the limits on the FFD patent? It may depend on how astutely Viewpoint manages its patent base.

So far, it has been cautious, waiting over two years to announce a licensing strategy, and then only when it already had a credible licensee (Kinetix) in tow. And word is that Viewpoint does not intend to be heavy-handed, sticking to bargaining chip negotiations and claiming only "outside-in" lattices (bulging muscles with internal lattices may not be covered).

But Viewpoint may hit resistance on the viewer and standards fronts. Patented technologies sometimes hit resistance in standards processes, and there are alternative contenders for a potential next-gen smart model standard (function curves, IK, solid model/surface engines).

Also, in a realtime environment the value of FFD would be as much on the playback side as the editing side. Also, note that in the Internet-era viewers tend to be free (from browsers to data-playback engines) and increasingly do both editing and playback (nobody just wants to view data, they want to interact with it, ala VRML 2.0). So to launch a FFD- based standard, Viewpoint may have to bow to the winds of free viewers.

Qslugs
09-03-2003, 06:10 AM
(bump)

Lyle, I would love to see lattice deformers in messiah, I'd even be willing to pay (.25-40 usd) for em as a addon plugin. Whatever happened to the lattice module that got leaked back in the day? Any chance you'd like to comment on lattices in messiah?

A related question: Is there a way to achieve a lattice effect in messiah without actually having lattices or point level animation? Anyone have any thoughts on this? When I had to do a lot of animation in max a while back I used lattices all the time. They were a great tool that got stuff done quick.

Freebooter
09-03-2003, 11:44 AM
I'll second that.

I just love the way Mirai uses cages to affect deformations. If this could be combined with messiah's musclebones it would be simply unbeatable for muscle/skin rigs.

KOryH
09-04-2003, 03:20 AM
they were there once, before the rewirte. If I remember correctly. The guys at PM quickly took it back. I was hoping that it would return one day.

Qslugs
09-04-2003, 05:27 AM
Yeah I asked someone about that last night. They mentioned that it wasn't a true lattice but something else like a lattice. Don't know much more beyond that.

Freebooter
09-04-2003, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by Qslugs
Yeah I asked someone about that last night. They mentioned that it wasn't a true lattice but something else like a lattice. Don't know much more beyond that.

Hmmm, what looks like a lattice and works like a lattice, but isn't a lattice?

Who cares? I want it back.

Esp. if it's not a "true" lattice, because that might circumvent the copyright at the beginning of the thread - although it seems likely that the viewpoint copyright might be standing in the way.

If it is, that would be a damn shame.

tjnyc
09-04-2003, 04:16 PM
Originally posted by Qslugs
(bump)

Lyle, I would love to see lattice deformers in messiah, I'd even be willing to pay (.25-40 usd) for em as a addon plugin. Whatever happened to the lattice module that got leaked back in the day? Any chance you'd like to comment on lattices in messiah?

A related question: Is there a way to achieve a lattice effect in messiah without actually having lattices or point level animation? Anyone have any thoughts on this? When I had to do a lot of animation in max a while back I used lattices all the time. They were a great tool that got stuff done quick.

Take a look at Mirai's displacement system, it looks like PLA, but it isn't. It is a simple and fast way to setup proper deformation without all the hassle. I don't use the lattice deformers in Mirai, since the Soft deformers + the displacement feature is all that is needed. AmbientWhisper had a video showing stuff from Mirai's CA tools, you can do a search on this broad in the Maya section to find it.

Qslugs
09-04-2003, 04:26 PM
Where would one look at Marai anything? The IZware site hasnt been up for what seems like forever. I don't remember there ever being a demo either. Any chance you would like to post a screenshot?

tjnyc
09-04-2003, 04:35 PM
I might put up a video up on demoing some of Mirai's CA capabilities, but for now you can look at AmbientWhisper's video which has a small bit of this setup there. Here is the link to the video.

http://camp.cgland.com/Lightwave3d/board/file_1/SkeleFun.mov

You can also look at this thread

http://cube.phlatt.net/forums/spiraloid/viewtopic.php?TopicID=652

Freebooter
09-04-2003, 04:35 PM
I had the opportunity to play with a friend's copy, alas, not my own, :( .

But, if you have a look at Martin Krol (Ambient Whisper) 's site, he's got some vids in there that show it in action. They were what inspired me to hunt down and play with this feature in teh first place, and it really is nice.

here's (http://ambient-whisper.cgcommunity.com/images_dump/mir/SkeleFun.html) a link to the vid.

Freebooter
09-04-2003, 04:36 PM
Oops, tjnyc,

Beat me to it.

tjnyc
09-04-2003, 04:44 PM
Alot of Mirai's CA tools are stuff that are easy to setup and use. Dynamics for example is just stupid easy to get working like in seconds in Mirai, but in other apps it requires some amount of work and time and some of it doesn't work properly at all. I would go with Mirai for all my rigging and animation if it weren't for the fact that I can't it out of Mirai and into other apps. Hopefully that will change when 1.5 comes out. Until then Animate is my best bet for rigging and animation.

Wegg
01-06-2006, 02:40 AM
(No. 4,821,214, filed April 17, 1986, issued 4/11/89, to expire April 2006)

OooOOoooo :twisted:

Better get on that!

AlexK
01-06-2006, 09:50 AM
(No. 4,821,214, filed April 17, 1986, issued 4/11/89, to expire April 2006)

OooOOoooo :twisted:

Better get on that!
Man you did some digging!!! The last post was two and half years ago!!!
Still interesting though. Any news on the topic from your VERY silent developers?

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