Thursday, November 27, 2003

Notebooks

Most scientists keep a research notebook. You should too. You've probably been told this in every science class since fifth grade, but it's true. Different systems work for different people; experiment. You might keep it online or in a spiral notebook or on legal pads. You might want one for the lab and one for home.

Record in your notebook ideas as they come up. Nobody except you is going to read it, so you can be random. Put in speculations, current problems in your work, possible solutions. Work through possible solutions there. Summarize for future reference interesting things you read.

Read back over your notebook periodically. Some people make a monthly summary for easy reference.

What you put in your notebook can often serve as the backbone of a paper. This makes life a lot easier. Conversely, you may find that writing skeletal papers-title, abstract, section headings, fragments of text-is a useful way of documenting what you are up to, even when you have no intention of ever making it into a real paper. (And you may change your mind later.)

You may find useful Vera Johnson-Steiner's book Notebooks of the Mind, which, though mostly not literally about notebooks, describes the ways in which creative thought emerges from the accumulation of fragments of ideas.
-http://www.cs.indiana.edu/mit.research.how.to/section3.6.html

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Scout Report: Topic In Depth - Computer Graphics & Digital Animation

1. What is Computer Graphics?
http://www.graphics.cornell.edu/online/tutorial/
2. GPGPU
http://www.gpgpu.org/
3. The Center for Human Modeling and Simulation [pdf, Windows Media Player]
http://hms.upenn.edu/
4. Light Scattering from Human Hair Fibers [pdf]
http://graphics.ucsd.edu/~henrik/papers/hair/hair.pdf
5. 3D Photography from Photographs and Video Clips [pdf]
http://www-cvr.ai.uiuc.edu/ponce_grp/publication/paper/crest03.pdf
6. SIGGRAPH 2003 Web Graphics Expo [Macromedia Flash Reader, Macromedia Shockwave Player]
http://www.siggraph.org/s2003/conference/web/expo.html
7. Flipcode: Daily Game Development News & Resources [pdf]
http://www.flipcode.com/misc/siggraph2003.shtml
8. Lights, camera, and...Machinima!
http://www.msnbc.com/news/984237.asp?cp1=1
Nearly every Webpage, television broadcast, and advertisement incorporates some form of computer generated imagery. However, computer graphics has applications well beyond these kinds of background enhancements. It is used in scientific visualization, modeling, and simulation, as well as enabling virtual reality and high-tech entertainment such as video games. As electronic displays become more pervasive, the field of computer graphics will continue to grow.

Computer graphics is a term that encompasses a wide range of sciences and techniques. To understand some of the processes involved in generating computer graphics, Cornell University offers this detailed introduction to the subject (1). The site contains explanations and a series of pictures that illustrate object rendering, shading, ray tracing, and more. Computer graphics has seen rapid advancements in the past few years, partly because of the development of dedicated graphics processing units (GPUs). The performance of GPUs has outpaced that of general purpose processors, and this has sparked interest in using GPUs for applications other than graphics. General Purpose Computation Using Graphics Hardware (2) is a site that examines this trend. It is regularly updated with news, links to conferences and research papers, and related projects. The Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (3) is a research effort at the University of Pennsylvania. Many of the center's projects can be browsed on its website, including animation of physical gestures and the development of virtual humans. As a testament to the intricacy involved in modern computer graphics, this paper (4) describes a new technique for modeling the shine of light off human hair. The authors compare the results of their work to current shading practices and show notable improvements in the realism of the model. Three dimensional photography, a recent extension of computer graphics, has received significant attention from its use in movies. This paper (5) proposes a number of strategies for improving the accuracy and flexibility of current approaches to 3D photography. The 30th annual SIGGRAPH conference, held in July 2003 and sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery, is one of the most well known conferences related to computer graphics. The SIGGRAPH Web Expo (6) showcases some of the most outstanding web-graphics work of the year. Visitors can choose between seven different categories and view many interactive and visually stunning creations. Some of the works have strict hardware and software requirements that are required in order to view them, however. This online review of the SIGGRAPH conference (7) provides an interesting view into the events and presentations. Scattered throughout the text are examples of computer generated images, as well as links to some of the papers and projects that were featured. Lastly, this news article (8) introduces machinima, a term used to describe special effects in movies that are created with technologies originally developed for computer games. The Machinima Film Festival 2003 is the basis of the article. [CL]


>From The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2003. http://scout.wisc.edu/

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Hand Drawn Holograms

This technique has already been used in artworks. I haven't had a go at making one yet.