New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby Numenus » Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:27 pm

Hi,

my name is Oliver and I am founder of a start up company, called NUMENUS, specialized on fast high quality image generation. Currently we are thinking about developing a small and nice application which would allow you to easily import 3D data acquired by your laser scanner (of course also other 3D data) and lets you render them in high quality. Before I go a little bit more into detail let me shortly explain why I am writing it down here: Since we are a new start up (we started only two weeks ago), we are nice guys... really! :) So this is why we want to develop an application with strong feedback from the community which is actually supposed to use it. So we would really like to know, what you think about the ideas that I will be presented hereafter - and of course we also like to hear, what *you* think is really important for such an application.

Alright here is what we planned so far:

Our little application would allow you to
1. import OBJ/PLY/IGES files
2. render them fast and in high quality (using realtime ray tracing!)
3. lets you modify geometry / materials / lights
4. save images or render videos

Our main goal is not to replace applications like Studio Max, Maya etc. but to create an application that is really pretty easy and comfortable to use, so that for example you can load your scanned data, apply an glass material (see the buddha example image) and render a turntable animation within a very short time.

The images will be generated not by standard computer graphics means, but by using realtime ray tracing. So the time for image generation will not depend on the graphics card at all, but on the CPU-Power only. Of course we support multiple cores and SIMD as well. One further benefit of ray tracing is, that it scales very well with the number of triangles in a scene, so rendering 10 million triangles (see Statue example image) will actually be faster with our approach, than for example meshlab can render it using the GPU.

The link at the bottom leads to another image showing a complex scene (2.6 million triangles) with reflective and refractive materials like glass and car paint which can be rendered already with our prototype software.

So if you have any ideas what such a software should do for you please tell us. Since we target this application to be a nice and fun extension to what you already have we will of course not charge hundreds of dollars for that - but since we need to buy stuff to survive we also cannot make it for free. So please fell free to also discuss a price tag you would find appropiate. By the way, the software will be available for OS X, Linux and Windows in 32- or 64-bit at the same time.

You see, we really want to work together with the community, i.e. you, so that we can deliver a application that is useful to you with a fair price.

Here is the link to some example images, also including a 3D dataset that was scanned with DAVID laserscanners: http://intern.numenus.de/augenblick/showroom

As a preview you can see an ray traced example right here (2.6 Million polygons):

Image

With best regards,

Oliver Abert
Numenus CEO
Last edited by Numenus on Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:45 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby hal » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:16 pm

Hello Mr.Oliver Albert,

your software seems interesting, but:

Numenus wrote:So if you have any ideas what such a software should do for you please tell us. Since we target this application to be a nice and fun extension to what you already have we will of course not charge hundreds of dollars for that - but since we need to buy stuff to survive we also cannot make it for free. So please fell free to also discuss a price tag you would find appropiate. By the way, the software will be available for OS X, Linux and Windows in 32- or 64-bit at the same time.
You see, we really want to work together with the community, i.e. you, so that we can deliver a application that is useful to you with a fair price.


I think (and this is only my little opinion) that a software must be evaluated, first to express any kind of opinion, and first to buy something, obviously.
As David's experience teach, probably a demo (maybe a time trial or a limited resolution) can be a good way to show your product. You ask to help you, but how we can, without any elements in our hands?
However, i'm curious to follow this thread.

Best regards,
Mattia

p.s.: Have you scanned the Suzuki Bike GSX 1300r, too? nice coincidence, I've scanned a model of it months ago (viewtopic.php?p=5695#p5695)... but I never shared (especially never for commercial purpose) my 3D mesh at High resolution, and no one have asked to me the possibilities to use it for commercial purpose. Obviously is a coincidence ... I hope.

Edit: Simon and Sven notify to me that some of my stuff were give to you at CeBIT meeting, so apologize me for my last "p.s.:" sentence. It was a misunderstanding.

MatM_scan coincidence.jpg
... strange coincidence about the model showed ...
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Re:

Postby joecnc2006 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:38 am

hal wrote:Hello Mr.Oliver Albert,

your software seems interesting, but:

Numenus wrote:So if you have any ideas what such a software should do for you please tell us. Since we target this application to be a nice and fun extension to what you already have we will of course not charge hundreds of dollars for that - but since we need to buy stuff to survive we also cannot make it for free. So please fell free to also discuss a price tag you would find appropiate. By the way, the software will be available for OS X, Linux and Windows in 32- or 64-bit at the same time.
You see, we really want to work together with the community, i.e. you, so that we can deliver a application that is useful to you with a fair price.


I think (and this is only my little opinion) that a software must be evaluated, first to express any kind of opinion, and first to buy something, obviously.
As David's experience teach, probably a demo (maybe a time trial or a limited resolution) can be a good way to show your product. You ask to help you, but how we can, without any elements in our hands?
However, i'm curious to follow this thread.

Best regards,
Mattia

p.s.: Have you scanned the Suzuki Bike GSX 1300r, too? nice coincidence, I've scanned a model of it months ago (viewtopic.php?p=5695#p5695)... but I never shared (especially never for commercial purpose) my 3D mesh at High resolution, and no one have asked to me the possibilities to use it for commercial purpose. Obviously is a coincidence ... I hope.

MatM_scan coincidence.jpg



WOW, one post only and he wants to push his software and with a suzuki which looks just like yours even down to the way your gas cap came out?
Joe

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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby Bongobat » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:00 pm

Hi,


Internet explorer blocked Oliver Abert's pictures for me because it says the host site has security certificate errors :o Anyone else have this problem?

Greg
DealExtreme red line laser, Microsoft Lifecam HD-5000
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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby joecnc2006 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:23 pm

Bongobat wrote:Hi,


Internet explorer blocked Oliver Abert's pictures for me because it says the host site has security certificate errors :o Anyone else have this problem?

Greg


Same with me with firefox, but I.E. 8 worked when i accepted it.
Joe

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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby MagWeb » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:00 pm

Hey,

No risk - no fun ! Same on Safari.

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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby joecnc2006 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:55 pm

screen.jpg
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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby Numenus » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:39 pm

Hi,

As David's experience teach, probably a demo (maybe a time trial or a limited resolution) can be a good way to show your product. You ask to help you, but how we can, without any elements in our hands?
However, i'm curious to follow this thread.


Sure, a demo would be a good thing - however we do not have a suitable demo at hand right now, since the protoype we have is actually not intended to be used by anybody than the developers :) I actually started this thread to get some input of what features are requested by you, so that we not only develop a application that we think is cool - but indeed the users think its cool. However, if there is a strong interest in a demo application then we could work on setting one up. Maybe on that basis you can make suggestions on what to develop and/or improve.

WOW, one post only and he wants to push his software and with a suzuki which looks just like yours even down to the way your gas cap came out?


Well I don't really want to push a product here to buy my next Porsche or something... as I mentioned we are a small start up that just started this month, and therfore I don't see this as advertising here (since there is no product available yet), but as a chance to get into contact with the community to get to know what is really desired.

Internet explorer blocked Oliver Abert's pictures for me because it says the host site has security certificate errors Anyone else have this problem?


Sorry, our server is also quite new... so not everything is setup correctly. It should work now!

Best regards,

Oliver
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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby hal » Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:21 pm

Hello Numenus,
if you are looking for some input for your High poly density viewer, I have some for you:

- What do you think to implement a "Section Tool" to get a real time section-plane? Ok, I know that this tool is already present in many 3D viewer, but they always cut the 3D objects on their profile. So, we can see the inner part of the object (like a negative surface) and the sectioned profile. Is possible to get a section-tool with the filling effect? a tool that cut the object in real time with a virtual plane and that show the 3D object as solid object?

- A poly counter is already present? if no, will be useful a poly/vertex/triangles counter in the main window of your program, easily to consult.

- Can you import multiple objects in the same scene? if no, can be useful this feature, with objects like my Suzuky bike, made up of many parts. So, we can select and show/hidden the selected pieces, as we want.

- You think to implement some other feature, like poly reduction and/or the generation of normal/bump/displacemet/ambient occlusion maps? If yes: at present day don't exist a software that do all this in the same time. I know that exists many expensive software that can do poly reduction and creation of maps from High poly mesh... but don't exist an easy and "all-in-one" software to get a low poly mesh with the application of normal normal/bump/displacemet/ambient occlusion maps directly from High poly mesh. This can be useful for a better workflow of who, like me, want to share online the scan results.

- You wrote that your software can export videos... so is already present a "turntable" feature? I'm thinking about something that can perform a rotation (with adjustable speed) all around a chosen axis, and automatically save a video of the turntable movement.

- What about the shaders used into your viewer? Standard shader (Blinn, Phong, X-Ray, wireframe,...) are no sufficient to get the best look of our scanned model. If you point at the ZBrush site, you can see great shaders, like wax material, pewter material, old metals materials ... Is possible to have shader cool like they?

And now some other questions about your project:
- What kind of technology there is behind it?
- How long is the time required to load into the pc memory an high poly mesh? For examples a viewer like GLC require too much time (and some time crash) with model of millions of polygons. ZBrush have an implemented importer tool that allow to load huge 3D file in less of one minute... can you estimate a load-time for the complete model of my Suzuky .obj?

About a suggested price... is hard for me to estimate it, without any chance to test/try it. but if we are talking about a "simple" viewer, I think that a price between 25 € and 50 € is good, but if you can implement other stuff (poly reducer, material baking from high to low poly meshes, cool shaders, ...) I think that you ca set the price bar between 100 € and 200 €.

Thanks in advance,
Mattia
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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby Numenus » Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:36 am

Hello Numenus,
if you are looking for some input for your High poly density viewer, I have some for you:


Hi Mattia, thanks a lot for your valuable input! I will comment on your input.

- What do you think to implement a "Section Tool" to get a real time section-plane? Ok, I know that this tool is already present in many 3D viewer, but they always cut the 3D objects on their profile. So, we can see the inner part of the object (like a negative surface) and the sectioned profile. Is possible to get a section-tool with the filling effect? a tool that cut the object in real time with a virtual plane and that show the 3D object as solid object?


I like this idea, and we will implement this feature. Filling the object is an interesting idea and I think we will be able to implement that as well - I already have an idea :) Of course this will possible in realtime or interactive frame rate depending on the scene and computer. It won't be slower than usual rendering I guess.

- A poly counter is already present? if no, will be useful a poly/vertex/triangles counter in the main window of your program, easily to consult.


A poly counter we have, adding vertex counter is of course pretty easy and will be done.

- Can you import multiple objects in the same scene? if no, can be useful this feature, with objects like my Suzuky bike, made up of many parts. So, we can select and show/hidden the selected pieces, as we want.


Loading multiple files is already possible. Moving these parts around also is possible, tough it is not comfortable yet, since it is still in development :) The ability to show and hide selected pieces will definitively be implemented soon as well.

- You think to implement some other feature, like poly reduction and/or the generation of normal/bump/displacemet/ambient occlusion maps? If yes: at present day don't exist a software that do all this in the same time. I know that exists many expensive software that can do poly reduction and creation of maps from High poly mesh... but don't exist an easy and "all-in-one" software to get a low poly mesh with the application of normal normal/bump/displacemet/ambient occlusion maps directly from High poly mesh. This can be useful for a better workflow of who, like me, want to share online the scan results.


Okay this sounds really interesting as well. Implementation of such features is a bit more work of course. So I would say this will not be included in a first demo version and maybe not in the 1.0 Version - but I definitively keep this in mind and like this to have in a future version of our software. And as you said, I would intend to make it pretty easy to use, tailored to the specific need of scanned models. Currently we supprt bumb mapping and ambient occulusion already, but we don't export these into textures yet.

- You wrote that your software can export videos... so is already present a "turntable" feature? I'm thinking about something that can perform a rotation (with adjustable speed) all around a chosen axis, and automatically save a video of the turntable movement.


Yes, we have a turntable option. I can upload a video later which shows the result. It is not that configurable yet, but of course it's no big deal to make it more flexible. Currently we only export an image series, but we want to make it possible to export an video directly, of course.

- What about the shaders used into your viewer? Standard shader (Blinn, Phong, X-Ray, wireframe,...) are no sufficient to get the best look of our scanned model. If you point at the ZBrush site, you can see great shaders, like wax material, pewter material, old metals materials ... Is possible to have shader cool like they?


We support a couple of shaders so far, however extending these with more and more shaders is no big deal and only work that need to be done :) Since we have a good plugin architecture, shaders can also easily be added after a realase and with our SDK it is even possible that people who can programm C++ are able to write their own shaders. Besides we want to extend our shaders as well of course. Maybe the community can compile a list of must-have-shaders :)

And now some other questions about your project:
- What kind of technology there is behind it?


The core technology is a real time ray tracer called Augenblick, which I developed during my Ph.D. time at the university of Koblenz. It is a highly optimized ray tracer which still is very flexible and easy to extend. My ray tracer is obviously not the only one in the whole wide world, but most of them are either fast and unflexible or they are very flexible but slow. Augenblick is of course multi-threaded, so it can use as many cores as the machine has and supports SSE up to SSE4 (if available) for instruction paralellism. However, through a smart abstraction layer our SIMD ray tracer also runs on PowerPCs (any old macs around? ^^) as well as without SIMD at all - which is of course slower. We don't intend to add network support just now, since usually private users don't want to buy a cluster of machines to get results fast :)

- How long is the time required to load into the pc memory an high poly mesh? For examples a viewer like GLC require too much time (and some time crash) with model of millions of polygons. ZBrush have an implemented importer tool that allow to load huge 3D file in less of one minute... can you estimate a load-time for the complete model of my Suzuky .obj?


I can give you exact numbers for you model :) We have not focused on that, so laoding times are still rather slow. For your 5+ million poly mesh it currently is 1.45 min. But right now we are rewriting the OBJ loader, since our current one is a bit old and can be improved a lot. Actually around 48 seconds is just copying the file into memory and another 48 seconds is parsing it.Only around 5 seconds is Augenblickinternal stuff, like allocating memory and creating acceleration data structures and stuff like that. So I guess after optimizing we will be able to load it clearly below one minute.

About a suggested price... is hard for me to estimate it, without any chance to test/try it. but if we are talking about a "simple" viewer, I think that a price between 25 € and 50 € is good, but if you can implement other stuff (poly reducer, material baking from high to low poly meshes, cool shaders, ...) I think that you ca set the price bar between 100 € and 200 €.


Of course, I understand it's hard to guess. But from my point of view your suggestions sound reasonable. Well, since we are very early in our planning stage I cannot make any promises, but I can say, that I really like the idea of developing an application for the community, since it fits so well into what we want to do with our ray tracer. Please don't take this as an official schedule, it is just some good guess I can make at this point in time: I would like to have a demo version ready in let's say around two month - and then maybe a first version in around 6 month maybe a bit longer. For the demo version I think the best idea is to limit the maximum resolution and maybe add a watermark or something to the images. Otherwise I would keep the application fully functional.

Thanks a lot for your input! If you can think of anything else, don't hesitate to tell us :)

Best regards,

Oliver
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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby Numenus » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:47 pm

Hi everybody,

just to give you a short update on what we are working on. I mentioned before that we are optimizing the OBJLoader to mimiye loading times. We also made a comparison with the well known Meshlab regarding loading times and render times. For the test I used hal's Motorcycle scan modell with around 4.5 million polygons, so hal you might be especially interested in the results :)

Loading the OBJ file (around 177 MB) took our Software Augenblick only 6.2 seconds on average, while Meshlab took 43 seconds on the same machine, so we are nearly around 7 times faster. This scales also with huge Models like Thai statue (10M) where we are 8 times faster. On full HD resolution meslab renders with around 3 frames per second, while we can sustain around 10 frames. However during movment resolution can be switched automatically to somewhat lower to enable 25 fps (with still good visible quality) and switched back to full resolution upon ending on movment. So actually navigating through the scene is a lot smoother.

The testing machine I used is an early 2008 Mac Pro with Dual Quad Xeons running at 2.8 GHz and a geForce 8800 GT graphics board. Even if you have a slower machine, navigation will be just as smooth, just with lower resolution during movement, since our scale-down is adaptive.

Please feel free to ask, if you have any questions or comments.

Best regards,

Oliver
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Postby hal » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:47 pm

Numenus wrote:[...] I used hal's Motorcycle scan modell with around 4.5 million polygons, [...]


... mmm ... probably you have an incomplete model: the final model counts 5.131.140 polygons and the .obj is around 200 Mb.

Numenus wrote:[...] Loading the OBJ file [...] took our Software Augenblick only 6.2 seconds on average, while Meshlab took 43 seconds on the same machine, so we are nearly around 7 times faster., [...]


Wow great! Seems very promising. With ZBrush I also must to wait around 40 sec. for loading the model into the canvas, on my LapTop DELL with Intel Centrino Duo at 2.00 GHz and 2 Gb of Ram and a nVidia Quadro FX 3.500 with 512 Mb.
Seems that your software is very fast. Compliments.

As you wrote in the previous post ...

Numenus wrote:Besides we want to extend our shaders as well of course. Maybe the community can compile a list of must-have-shaders :)


... I think that images are better, for this purpose, than many words, for descirbe the shader that I've in mind. As you can see into the attached image, the materials are taken from ZBrush default material and ZBrush's free shared materials, from community.

MatM_SuzukiBike_ShaderSuggestions.jpg
Some suggested shader.

I don't know if you can achieve the same best results as ZBrush shader's look and style, but could be great if you can create someting similar: White and dark Gray glossy shader, Dark and metal shader, Normal map shader, a shader that underline the fine details (like a "dirty" materials that simulate a dark color where are the differences of surface/deep differences of the vectors-normal values), a cool shader like the "wax" shader of ZBrush ;-) .

And can be useful if we can set the background color of the viewport as we want.

Thanks and Good work,
Mattia
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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby Numenus » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:07 pm

Hi everyone,

just to give you a little update: currently we started working on our software towards making it ready for a demo. Right now we are implementing a number of essential features, like basic scene navigation tools, a new memory saving data structure and file format import/export capabilities and similar stuff. When we are done with those essentials we will release the first demo version, so that the comminity can give it a try. This demo will not be feature complete, for sure, but it will give a first glance on what is to come. We plan to release this demo in late August or early September - so stay tuned :)

Best regards,

Oliver
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Re: New realtime ray tracing based renderer for scanned data!

Postby Numenus » Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:17 pm

Hey again,

our Augenblick MMV (massive model viewer) realtime ray tracing demo version - it actually will be a early alpha preview release - will be out in a couple of days. We plan to release it on 26th of October. In the meantime we also have set up a Facebook page. So if you have an account over there already and want to stay in touch with us, we will be happy to have you as a fan on our page. Just recently we also released some screenshots over there, including the proof that we can now load the 28 mio lucy model on windows as well :) Have a look over here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/NUMENUS-GmbH/176089938046?ref=ts

However, I will let you now as soon as our alpha is ready for download. I hope that our application will be useful for you!

Best regards,

Oliver
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Postby hal » Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:33 pm

Hi Oliver,

Thanks for the advice.
I've seen your new site, great!, Cool style 8)
And nice to see your face, too :wink:

Me and my Windows 7 (R.C.) at 64-Bit are impatient to try the demo.
Bye,
Mattia
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