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The Challenge of Cheetos

By bmetzler in News
Thu Feb 24, 2000 at 08:20:24 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

This article talks about the new surface modelling techniques made by mathematicians at Pixar Animation Studios. These advances allow much smoother characters in animations then ever before. "Technical advances are letting us design objects the way we want to rather than the way the math allows," Tony DeRose, Pixar's Senior Scientist explained. This is done by building a mesh of hundreds of thousands of smaller and smaller two-dimensional tetrahedra to approximate the surfaces they wish to create.

[editor's note, by rusty] In case you thought maybe bmetzler was smoking something funny when he titled this story, the article does mention the challenge of creating digital Cheetos. It also mentions digital breakfast cereal. Mmmm. Breakfast cereal.

For those unfamiliar with what a tetrahedra is, it is an object reduced to similar triangles. Then instead of rendering all sorts of unrelated shapes, you can just render millions of identical triangles, which hopefully will fit together smoother. Well, that may be over simplistic, but I hope that is a good enough explanation for those unfamiliar with the concept. I have a hard time explaining concepts to someone who is unfamiliar with them :)

To learn more about tetrahedron, check out MathWorld. How many tetrahendra? is a good visual explanation of what you are doing to get tetrahendra. This is a paper from last October that goes into more detail about the process of subdividing polygons into tetrahenda in computer graphics. And last, a tetrahedral puzzle.


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The Challenge of Cheetos | 2 comments (2 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I used to do ray-tracing with POV-R... (none / 0) (#1)
by rusty on Thu Feb 24, 2000 at 06:00:33 PM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

I used to do ray-tracing with POV-Ray way back in the day. This was before there was really a frontend for it. I wrote scene description files by hand, in their little quasi-programming language. That has nothing to do with this story, really, other than being vaguely related to computer graphics. I just felt like sharing.

Not the real rusty

Cool. Nice visualization comes to m... (none / 0) (#2)
by dvwood on Thu Feb 24, 2000 at 06:31:08 PM EST

dvwood voted 1 on this story.

Cool. Nice visualization comes to mind. I'm still not sure why rendering unrelated shapes won't be smooth, though. I can see it being slow, but not smooth. hmmm ...
Just visitin'

The Challenge of Cheetos | 2 comments (2 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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