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Re: armchairs, & other topics

One of the Larrys said:
>Today's on-line museums, such as the
>ones at ttp://www.bvis.uic.edu/museum/Dna_to_Dinosaurs.html/,
>http://nmnhwww.si.edu/nmnhweb.html/ or >http://ucmp1.berkeley.edu/
>are only a pale shadow of what will be available in, say, ten
>years - and _during_ the next ten years, most specimens >_will_be_digitized
in full 3-D for other reasons, including >backup, access for study by
networked researchers content with >current tools, identification, and so on.

These "on-line'museums are showing flat pictures, a VERY far cry from having
a computer remember polygons which take a LOT of memory to be accurate to the
degree you scientists need, and it still will render the surfaces out of
polygons, so any detailed surface inspections HAVE to be done in another
media.  Unless you scientists have access to MEDICAL software, which as far
as I know is still polygonal, just higher rez.  And VERY expensive.  Polygons
leave their own artifacts.   
>Computer morphing was developed for Abyss and Terminator 2 at >staggering
expense - and is now used in everyday commercials >and TV series.  

 Which are still being done at staggering expense.  And are a big waste of
money in tv shows, IMHO, see why when I talk about tv resolution

>The computer animation in JP is following the same path, perhaps >even more
quickly.  Ten years from now, you won't _need_ a >"mainframe" to animate a
t-rex.  Maybe not even a "home >computer", I expect every video game on the
>to have the capability of doing it to at least TV resolution, and
>every desktop computer to at least movie resolution.

   Look, I do this for a living.   Let me explain something.  A video game
monitor is a tv.  TV's have really bad resolution. 640/400.  Period.  Video
games do things at this resolution now, and have done so for the last 5
years, easy.  Computer monitors can go up to 4000+/4000+ resolution, movie
resolution being around the top end.  It's not just the 'processing power'
that allows for higher resolution images, you have to go out and buy a fancy
monitor.  The one I'm using now is a 21" color monitor capable of the high
end stuff.  Having a lower resolution monitor means you can't see what the
higher resolution looks like. Period.  It won't display any different on a
lower end monitor than what the lower end stuff would .
    It doesn't take a mainframe to do any of the animations used in JP since
most film work is being done on SGI's and VideoToaster and highend Mac stuff
(which I'm not as familiar with) which are not mainframes.  It does, however,
help with handling the memory load required of really complex polygons.  I
would estimate the T Rex in JP at around 40,000 polygons.  I've worked with
80,000 polygon models.  If you examined the T Rex without the bit-mapped
surface, he IS NOT at a detail level necessary for study.  I've seen him at a
demo at SoftImage.   He looks like a carving in soap.
  Do you realize just HOW MANY people needed to work on him to bring him up
to that level of detail?  At least 18 full time computer artists and
animators.  Do you really expect any museum to pay for that kind of staff?

>On-line museums will take off when VR equipment is readily >available,
something Nintendo is taking care of for other purposes >without any help.
 You will not be looking at "photos" - you will >have a full 3-D image which
will provide evey bit of the "feeling"
>you could get from standing next to the mounted - or live -
>specimen.  You'll be able to walk closer or further away, or
>circle the specimen and see it move in full perspective, and
>it will occupy your _entire_ field of vision.

  Which is great if you have binocular vision, but awful if you're like me
and only see out of one eye.  VR just looks a mess.  Aren't museums supposed
to plan on the handicapped like the blind and deaf having access to them?
 What will you do with the BLIND?  (sorry, but on this particular point,VR, I
do a bit of soapbox in the Videogame field, as well.)
  The problems with constructing things in computer are the same as basing
all your work on illustrations.  Not only are the 3d models the
interpretation of whoever built them of the subject matter, but the 3d models
are also the limitation of the software used.  That makes them pretty iffy as
to absolute verifiable science.  They are ok, IMHO, for demos and general
shape comparisons, but not for detail work.

Betty Cunningham(Flyinggoat@aol.com)
Illustrator, animator, and likes to collect dead things