While at this year's Siggraph 2012 conference, we managed to run into a few guys from a new company at AMD's professional graphics booth. They were showing off their new HTML 5 based 3D modeling tool.TeamUp
is a new company with a new product called Multi-Optics that enables 3D modeling artists to easily and quickly collaborate with each other through the medium of the web. This new 3D modeling tool is a fully-featured 3D modeling program that allows for artists and clients to connect with each other and to be able to make changes in real-time without having to worry about needing to be in the same place. The three main guys involved in this brand new project are Arno Zinke, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder, Dov Amihod, CTO and Co-Founder, and Thiago Costa, Co-Founder and CEO. All of these guys are absolutely brilliant and what they've done before TeamUp and the application is sure not to disappoint. Thiago is a very well seasoned physics engine creator, while Arno is an optics rendering expert and Dov is an interface and user experience expert. The rest of the team is here
The application that they created is called Multi-Optics which allows them to simulate a multitude of light conditions that different materials may have. Since items like hair, sand and metals all have different properties they may make light behave differently. Their engine takes these factors into account and adds their physical properties to the imagery and light conditions. It uses path-tracing to accomplish this and the majority of the current computation is accomplished via CPU rendering. There is a good chance, though, that GPU rendering won't be far off. Also, because of it's unique optics and physics engines, they are able to render items based upon the materials they are made of and to model things down to the granularity of things like hair and sand with extreme detail.
Multi-Optics allows for designers, managers and clients to easily collaborate with each other in real time because it is a cloud-based application that runs in HTML5. And without a doubt, this has to be the most complex HTML5 application that we've seen to date, and it has to be one of the best to boot. Since the application is in-browser, it enables users to be able to use the application on a multitude of platforms ranging from Windows to OSX and even Android to iOS. This means you could theoretically do the same work on an iPad as you could do on a desktop. Realistically, however, the iPad and Android implementations are likely going to be more useful for reviewing 3D content rather than actually creating it.
Since the application is HTML5 based, it implements Khronos' Web-GL acceleration for browsers that enables GPU acceleration inside of the browser to render 2D and 3D graphics. However, WebGL is not necessarily needed in order to run TeamUp's Multi-Optics. Additionally, most of the cloud service is powered by Amazon Web Services, which means that the data is going to be mostly reliable and available across the globe. Amazon's cloud services are generally very reliable when you remove that one week outage that they had about a year ago. Having cloud-based hardware, does, however enable shorter bursts of graphical power and a constantly up-to-date set of hardware.
Currently, Multi-Optics is in its beta phases and will be open to pre-qualified customers. They plan to offer it as a product by the end of 2012 as a subscription-based service and their expectation is that they plan to charge approximately $100 per month per user. These rates are based upon cloud access and render times for 3D models. Currently, the engine does not support animation, only 3D modeling, however, they do plan to support it in the future with a timeframe looking at somewhere in 2013.
The funny thing about this new application is that it borrows the same naming scheme from a physics engine created by its CEO, Thiago Costa. He created what we consider to be one of the best physics engines known to man, named Lagoa Multi-Physics.
Here's a great demo of its realism.
Lagoa Multiphysics. Water twist from Art. Craft on Vimeo.
Based upon what we've seen from the likes of Thiago and his team, we believe that their animation engine could prove to be even more impressive than this current 3D modeling engine. We believe that this application is a stepping stone for the ultimate step, a fully blown animation/simulation application.
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