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Graphic Rendering   |  3D Graphics

Video Card - Rendering 3D Graphics For the Average User

By Patrick Charlington

In today's world, new technologies are constantly being developed. From electric cars to plasma screen TVs, technology strives to make our lives easier and more efficient. One aspect of technology that is changing is the gaming industry. With the demand for better graphics always growing, there is also a need for the technology to make these graphics available to everyday computer users. By connecting their computers to a video card, users can access graphics, even 3-D images at high speed and quality.

A video card is a type of expansion card which is designed to generate images and upload them onto a display, often a computer screen. These cards are especially useful for people who use their computers to view a high volume of video content or to play games with advanced or 3-D graphics. By using a graphic card, these users can accelerate the rendering of images or even connect to multiple monitors for an extreme gaming experience.

The first video card was developed by IBM and released in 1981. This card, the Monochrome Display Adapter or MDA, only had 4KB of video memory and showed images in only one color. Since 1981, many corporations have created and released their variations on the video card and by 1987, a better model; the Video Graphics Array was capable of storing up to 2MB of video memory and had a 1024x768 resolution. In 1995 the first video card available to consumers was released. These cards followed the standards set by the Video Graphics Array but also allowed users to stream 3-D content. In recent years, the market for these graphics-enhancing devices is lead by ATI and Nvidia who hold almost 90% of the market.

The contemporary graphic card is based on a printed circuit board on which the different parts are mounted. The graphics processing unit or GPU is essential for performing the "floating-point" calculations which are needed to render 3-D graphics. The GPU also contains a number of pipelines which decode 3-D images into pixels. The video BIOS houses the basic program which manages the interactions between the computer and the software. The video memory is another key component of the video card which is used for storing data and images. A variety of memory capacities are available ranging from 128 MB up to 4 GB.

A number of other components may be attached to the circuit board and in order to achieve the fast rendering of modern and 3-D graphics. All of the components of a video card work together to create a link between the expansion card and the computer, allowing users to enjoy quickly-rendered, high quality images. No matter what type of graphics a user views on his computer, a graphic card is available to make their experience more enjoyable.

The Cell - A Revolution In 3d Rendering And Graphic Applications

By Tim Morrison

The Cell Broadband Engine is a distributed computer processor capable of running instructions at upwards of 200 gigaflops or 200 trillion instructions per second. Although these would be fairly simple instructions, the speed of the Cell means it can process very complex information faster because it would break it down, process elements, then reassemble the finished product faster than a normal processor.

One possible future for the Cell is in the avenue of a render farm for 3d and computer animated films and television shows.

Here's how it would possibly work:

Get 6 PS3's
link them together with a 8 port high-speed ethernet switch capable of running 1000 base-t or gigabit ethernet speed. Connect a Linux computer to the 7th port.
8th port of the switch goes to high-speed internet.
Load a software application on the linux pc that can coordinate a distributed computing environment
Load a node application onto each PS3's linux kernel so they can run code sent from the central computer.

Then all that is needed is to run the program to begin the render engine. Load it with the frameset and let it pass the data onto the PS3 network so the Cell processors can go to work. The Cell is designed for graphical rendering and scaled linear data computing, which makes it nearly perfect for graphic processes of the type that a render farm would be best suited for.

A current project that would work for the Cell is BURP (Big and Ugly Render Project) as it is designed for both distributed computing and will run on the Linux kernel.
By setting graphic files in a format able to be read by the Blender graphic program, they could be sent through BURP and processed by a dedicated PS3 network, and the resulting finished frames sent back to the central machine for assembly into a finished Computer Generated Animation.

The possibilities for the Cell are endless, but this is one that we expect to see within the next 12-18 months. I would be very surprised if this does not happen.

Computer Graphic Visualization Technology Overview

By Andy T Zhang

Visualization, especially the development of Virtual Environments (VEs) make a significant impact on how construction project stakeholders can perceive and successfully complete their projects; sales, marketing and manage the properties.

The purposes of visualization general fall into two categories:

Improve the design or construction works
Make sell which either sell the design or sell the property

Most times, the different visualization purposes will affect how to get the visualization projects done. Understanding of visualization technology and workflow will make signification impact on the budget and how well the goal can be achieved.

This article will overview below major areas, but provide detail in separated articles.

About visualizations, there are:

Three major categories

Visualization (texture mapping, ray tracing, lighting and photo editing)
Animation/simulation (fly-by, walk-through)
Modeling (solid modeling, surface modeling, wireframe modeling)

Three major process steps

Content creation (3D modeling, texturing, animation)
Scene layout setup (lighting especially but also the creation of the surface or mesh)
Rendering (instant rendering and no instant rendering)
View flow and interactive system setup (this doesn't apply to the traditional static graphic)

Six major technologies

Static rendering: either 2D or 3D imagery. Photorealistic rendering needs high-end hardware, software and comprehensive library. It is foundation of following solutions.
Animated images: multiple static images are put together and show the images in sequence automatically. Such as via GIF image or scripted web pages, etc.
360/720 degree virtual view: view the space or item in 360 degree freely with limited zoom in and zoom out. Single viewpoint. Can be delivered in Flash, QuickTime or other scripted computer language.
Animation: images are display smooth move at 24 to 30 frame per second. Such as via Flash, QuickTime, Windows Media files, etc. The route either pre-setup or have single viewpoint. It also knows as fly through.
Virtual Reality or Interactive virtual model: It is simulated 3D virtual environment which user can interactive with. This technique is invaluable to modern architects, engineers, real estate developers, facility manager and marketing professionals as it allows them to simulate most scenarios that they will encounter during the design, construction, and eventually the life of the structure they are attempting to build, manage and sale. Virtual reality allows the project team members to essentially create their structures and test them without wasting any of the resources necessary to complete the structure in reality. For the marketing, sale professionals and potential buyer, they sale and explore every possible units, layout, appliance, material, color, textures options long before the model unit available.
Mixed Reality: It combine real and virtual world to create a new environment which real and virtual world co-exist and interactive in real time. The real world can be still picture or steam live video via locally or remotely camera. Mixed Reality brings the interaction and virtual world to another level.

Three styles

Non Photorealistic
Non rendered computer graphic

Five major delivery structures

Standalone file
Interactive CD
Client - server structure
Browser -server structure

In the separated articles, we will talk about a.) Relationship and difference computer visualization with BIM/CAD system, especial on 3D portion; b.) Industry trend as well.

Rendering a 3D Model

By John Enrique Arturo

The process of 3D rendering allows the artist to generate a picture of the model, after it has been completed. This image is created by using specific aspects of the model, such as: texture, lighting and the shading of the 3D model. The results of this rendered object will create a final product, a product that the consumer is going to be most familiar with.

3D rendering refers to the animation of giving life to a static 3D model. Through the rendering process, animations are created by using computer software to give life to the model through photo realistic techniques. 3D rendering is actually the final process of creating a 3D animation through five basic techniques.

There are two rendering techniques, real time vs. non real time. The difference between the two effective rendering techniques is the speed in which the objects are shown within the scene. Real time renderings occur at a range of twenty to one-hundred twenty frames per second, where non-real time renderings occur much slower, and are suitable for feature films, and movies.

Depending on the complexity of the model that has been created, the rendering process can be very expensive. Rendered models are often created in pieces, by different artists working for the same company, on the same production and then pieced together using graphics software.

Rendering is also used during video to calculate the final effects, or to edit the video file through the creation process. It allows the artist to view the final project, before it has been completed, creating a valuable tool in the video game and animated film design industry. Through the video rendering systems, multiple images must be created, and rendered together to create the final image, which has resulted from one 3D model. Interestingly, the films that we have become familiar with are the result of static 3D models brought through the rendering process.

The Many Features of Rendering

Within the rendering process of a 3D model, how are these models brought to life through the process of animation and then created through photo realistic techniques to become characters in the films and games that we, as consumers, have become familiar with? Through the powerful process of rendering, we can create characters, ready for film, that encompasses lifelike qualities - and here are the features that assist artists through this process.

The main qualities of rendering include: shading, texture and bump mapping, fogging, shadows, soft-shadows, reflection, transparency, refraction and reflection, depth of field, motion blur as well as non-photo realistic rendering. Although these techniques may seem confusing, once an artist has become familiar with photo realistic techniques and 3D rendering software programs, they will come to realize that it takes many of these features combined to create a successfully rendered 3D model.

Shading is an important part of a rendered model, as it gives light within the color and creates the appearance of shadows on a model, creating a lifelike appearance. It determines how the color and brightness of the surface of the model will interact with the lighting within the scene.

Texture and bump mapping give distinctive properties to the surface of the model and can create textures such as cloth, skin, or even liquid. Texture mapping is applied to surfaces on a large scale, and bump mapping to a much smaller scale, even as small as a pixel.

Fogging and shadows are both ways of playing with the light in a scene, and how it will interact with the 3D model. Fogging will create a dimming effect of the light through the atmosphere, and can create intense low-light features.

Inserting a reflection into an object allows the surface to appear mirrored, such as a surface of a window, piece of glass, or even something shiny within the scene. Transparency and translucency, all determine how light and other objects will pass through certain parts within the scene. This is also important in the creation of windows, and glass.

Determining the depth of field within the scene of a 3D model means that an object such as the character will be in motion, and aspects or scenery in the background may appear to blur. Motion blur has the same effect when high speed or motion of the camera is simulated within the rendering programs.

Objects within the scene can be changed to appear as if they have been created manually, through the use of painting or drawing. These are referred to as non-photorealistic features, as they are drastically different from the features which are most often used.

Using these effects in conjunction with each allow scenes to be set that are realistic, believable or whimsical, depending on the degree to which feature is used.


3D Graphics


Light, God's eldest daughter, is a principal beauty in a building.
Thomas Fuller

I don't think of form as a kind of architecture. The architecture is the result of the forming. It is the kinesthetic and visual sense of position and wholeness that puts the thing into the realm of art.
Roy Lichtenstein

Architect. One who drafts a plan of your house, and plans a draft of your money.
Ambrose Bierce

An architect should live as little in cities as a painter. Send him to our hills, and let him study there what nature understands by a buttress, and what by a dome.
John Ruskin

Ah, to build, to build! That is the noblest art of all the arts. Painting and sculpture are but images, are merely shadows cast by outward things on stone or canvas, having in themselves no separate existence. Architecture, existing in itself, and not in seeming a something it is not, surpasses them as substance shadow.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

No architecture is so haughty as that which is simple.
John Ruskin

We may live without her, and worship without her, but we cannot remember without her. How cold is all history, how lifeless all imagery, compared to that which the living nation writes, and the uncorrupted marble bears!
John Ruskin

All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton

No person who is not a great sculptor or painter can be an architect. If he is not a sculptor or painter, he can only be a builder.
John Ruskin

Believe me, that was a happy age, before the days of architects, before the days of builders.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

A structure becomes architectural, and not sculptural, when its elements no longer have their justification in nature.
Guillaume Apollinaire

When we build, let us think that we build for ever.
John Ruskin

All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.
Frank Lloyd Wright

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