Scottish-based Plenoptics, developers of photo-based modeling solutions, have announced that the company has won a SMART award worth £50,000 ($93,919) from the Scottish Executive. The award is intended to assist small businesses such as Plenoptics in being competitive, as well as to benefit of the Scottish economy.
According to Plenoptics representatives, the award will be used to develop an automatic 3D computer graphics texture mapping tool in order to address problems faced by the computer games and special effects (CGI) sectors in creating 3D computer graphic models.
Specifically, Plenoptics will use the award to investigate the application of different texturing methods and optimization of the mapping process and lay the foundations for a fully automatic tool that will potentially save the industry significant time and money. The company notes that it has conducted research and found that the potential for a new innovation in this area would offer a significant benefit not only to the computer gaming and film industries, but also for training simulation and serious gaming applications.
Plenoptics notes that approximately 40 percent of production is spent on creating the geometry of the models, while the remaining 60 percent is spent on creating the model’s appearance. This appearance is stored as 2D images which need to be mapped on to the model’s surface. The company believes that the time spent in creating an efficient map can be cut substantially based on its experience of developing advanced photomodelling technologies.
“Over the past decade the demand from the games and film sectors for computer generated real world images has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry,” said Roy Middleton, CEO, Plenoptics. “However, the creation of such images is still as costly and time-consuming as ever and consumes the bulk of the production budget. For example a large computer game project which involves driving around a city can take as much as 100 man years to produce.”