Video: Rendering Synthetic Objects into Legacy Photographs

WOW !

(Supplementary material video for our 2011 SIGGRAPH Asia paper (see the project page here: kevinkarsch.com/​publications/​sa11.html). 3D objects are rendered using LuxRender (luxrender.net).

“A Morphable Model of 3D Faces”

via wired.com’s blog table of Malcontents:

Volker Blanz and Thomas Vetter of the MPI for Biological Cybernetics in Germany have come up with a morphable model for three-dimensional faces. What their system does is build a single master face out of a series of two hundred source faces, differentiated from one another by a vast spectrum of different features. This master face can then be easily morphed into any combination of features, allowing it to easily transform into any possible face (barring disfigurement).

But it gets cooler. The program can take a single 2D image of someone’s face and create a completely accurate 3D head model. Tom Hanks and Audrey Hepburn are the source images they use to demonstrate the process and the result is eerie and nearly indistinguishable.

FPS games, a look back and why I seem to still need a keyboard + mouse

WASDFirst Person Shooters ( FPS ) games are great, and it’s the genre that I really got into for a while — mostly in my late high school / early college years. The first game in this genre that really grabbed me and put me in this zone was the FPS game Wolfenstein 3D, followed by Doom ( modem to modem style ), and then my big time waster QuakeWorld w/ Threewave CTF ( old timers remember that QuakeWorld was an optimized Quake version for 56K/ISDN usage /200+ms ! Until QuakeWorld, the folks at id were all playing on T1s and had no idea what lag was like on a 56K connection ).

I played Wolf3d, Doom, and Quake1 all with a keyboard, no mouse. I used tons of keyboard shortcuts for certain moves, and it felt crazy to not use a joystick, but it all seemed to work great, and I was always near the top of the list for any given game.

Then came the 3dfx grafx card that I had to have, and it really changed the PC gaming scene. 3dfx was formed by a bunch of former SGI folks, who wanted to bring big time 3D grafx to the masses. The first generation Voodo card was an add-on card that kicked in any time you fired up a 3d game, and it really upped the stakes ( brought OpenGL into the mainstream too ), and made 3d style games look great and feel much more immersive.

All of the sudden I actually wanted to look around in 360, and I made the switch to keyboard + mouse, using what was then called WASD ( W to move forward, A for left, S for back, and D for right ). The mouse acted as my viewpoint, so that I could now move at will, and look anywhere. Capture the Flag (CTF) QuakeWorld games also introduced a grapple that made the maps much more 3D and meant that you had to be aware of your surrounding – and be ready from any angle.

And so the controls were set, a super fast laser powered mouse, plus a few simple keyboard keys, and every FPS I played from that point on – Quake2/3/Arena/UT mods, and Halife 1/2, were controlled in the very same way.

It became like second nature to play keyboard+mouse, and the pro players, and tournaments that followed, all were based on a similar controller setup.

I then fell out of gaming as RealLife took over, random free time was diminished, $$ spent on upgrading a PC seemed like an irrational thing, and the overall learning curves for games seemed to get higher and higher.

I didn’t play much of anything for a while, until I received a PS2 as a gift. I dipped my toe back in, mostly playing sports games, but tried a few FPS games as well. Sports game were great with a console’s controller, but FPS games seemed just wrong. I needed my mouse + keyboard, and I needed a true FPS angle, not this 3rd person stuff that seems to be the rage on consoles.

I’ve now picked up an Xbox360 – and if I’m lucky I get to play 1 hr per month. I still enjoy sports games – Tiger Woods, Fifa, etc — but I kept reading about how great Gears of War was – so I picked that up too. And yes, it’s a great looking FPS game on my 40″ LCD HD, but the controls still seem all wrong ! I’m pretty good at learning new things, but how do you aim with precision when it’s a controller ( hint: many of these games auto aim for you ).

What’s wild is to see a generational shift from keyboard+mouse –> console controllers all because of one game — Halo. People who grew up in gaming with an Xbox have only played with a controller and look at us old guys as relics. To be fair, there are some hardcore gamers out there that say “get a keyboard+mouse and hook it into the Xbox360” – gizmodo reviewed such a product, and the comments could have come from me:

“I always prefer keyboard and mouse – more controls, more configurable, easier to combo. Not to mention that I’ve spent/wasted way too much time honing my keyboard/mouse skills in Quake to give it up.”

Fantastic idea. I’m a PC gamer and could never see myself using the standard Xbox controller for FPS’s. This has me one micron closer to a console, but for now i’m sticking with the PC

I’m personally not keen on introducing more gadgets that into the living room, but I do wonder how many people do that.

So not sure if I’ll ever quite master using a controller for FPS games on the console. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing — as RealLife does have many advantages over gaming 🙂