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Shaded Computer Graphics in the Entertainment Industry

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131281D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 15 page(s) / 55K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Franklin C. Crow: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

The term ";shaded computer graphics"; refers to computer-generated images in which an intensity is calculated for each of a quarter-million or more resolvable spots which form a picture. Realistic images of this sort were first synthesized about a decade ago,'2 and subsequent years have seen considerable research and development. Although these efforts were largely stimulated by the need for visual simulators for training airplane and spacecraft pilots, the resulting techniques and equipment are now available for a broad spectrum of applications. Due to the extensive processing power required, producing realistic computer images has been too expensive for any but the most critical applications. However, the advent of the monolithic microprocessor has brought a major reduction in the cost of processing power. This reduction can be expected to have a dramatic effect on the cost of shaded computer graphics as the industry learns to use arrays of microprocessors to implement hidden-surface and display algorithms. Such equipment will almost certainly be constructed within a few years, making shaded computer graphics even more widely available. A few pioneering efforts in the application of computer imagery in the entertainment and advertising industries are now underway. The first section of this article discusses the possible applications of computer techniques to creating imagery for television and cinema film, the second section surveys those groups currently involved in such efforts, and a final section provides a technical discussion of some representative production techniques used by a group at Information International Inc., a Los Angeles manufacturer of computing systems for graphic input-output.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Shaded Computer Graphics in the Entertainment Industry

Franklin C. Crow

University of Texas

The term "shaded computer graphics" refers to computer-generated images in which an intensity is calculated for each of a quarter-million or more resolvable spots which form a picture. Realistic images of this sort were first synthesized about a decade ago,'2 and subsequent years have seen considerable research and development. Although these efforts were largely stimulated by the need for visual simulators for training airplane and spacecraft pilots, the resulting techniques and equipment are now available for a broad spectrum of applications.

Due to the extensive processing power required, producing realistic computer images has been too expensive for any but the most critical applications. However, the advent of the monolithic microprocessor has brought a major reduction in the cost of processing power. This reduction can be expected to have a dramatic effect on the cost of shaded computer graphics as the industry learns to use arrays of microprocessors to implement hidden-surface and display algorithms. Such equipment will almost certainly be constructed within a few years, making shaded computer graphics even more widely available.

A few pioneering efforts in the application of computer imagery in the entertainment and advertising industries are now underway. The first section of this article discusses the possible applications of computer techniques to creating imagery for television and cinema film, the second section surveys those groups currently involved in such efforts, and a final section provides a technical discussion of some representative production techniques used by a group at Information International Inc., a Los Angeles manufacturer of computing systems for graphic input-output.

Possible applications

Although the techniques of shaded computer graphics can be used to aid tasks such as the composition of still frames used as titles or in advertisements,3 the more exciting applications lie in producing animation, where cost-saving techniques have resulted in a general erosion of quality. High-quality conventional animation is extremely expensive, largely because of the amount of hand labor required. However, methods for computer-aided animation now under development promise to eliminate much of the hand labor, making high- quality animation economically practicable.

Animation techniques can be divided into two categories: 2-D animation, involving the use of hand-drawn images, and 3-D animation, involving...