ZVID Abstract for Hypergraphics

Andy Quitmeyer


Concept and Goals

______The goal for my individual project will be to build a 3-d "video cube". The first phase of the project will be to learn how to program basic geometric shapes. Next I will learn to apply textures and images to these shapes. Following that, I will have to uncover how to apply a texture of canned video to these shapes. Hopefully this knowledge will lead to an ability to pipe live video onto the sides of the cube, with the option of each side responding to a different camera. From there on I would experiment around with numbers of cameras and camera locations and various types of shapes, and possible homotoping from one shape to another while simultaneously displaying the live video.




______Beginning in my research I first discovered how to perform basic UNIX commands, and the bare bones of programming in Python. In this environment I learned how to create and manipulate basic 3-d primitive objects. I could apply transformations to the different fields of the primitives, from color to shape to size and to position. From here I immediately thought that the creation of my video cube was only 1 command away, but at that point I did not know that there was a difference between the python I had been programming in and the szg programming I would need to program in, and furthermore, texture mapping consists of more than just typing in a command telling the computer what texture to use. 

______I have been researching how to apply texture maps to shapes, and discovered that there are numerous mathematical methods of wrapping a flat image onto a surface, and most of the programming seemed quite out of my league. I did find solace in the fact that this warped mapping really only applies to wrapping an image around a three dimensional shape, and since each image will only be one side of a cube I should be okay.  As I ran into more problems with my project I did learn that if I gave up for now on the idea of six separate windows, and found an easy way to map at least a single image to the cube, I would be able to work out more complicated versions of the project at a later time. This is what I agreed upon with myself, and then began to study the szg documentation and previously created code such as to construct szg objects with textures.

______Once I managed to get a texture in place on my cube, I was able to use skills I had previously obtained in the fields of video. Using a program like Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, or Adobe Premier Pro, I took raw digital video clips and exported them as a numerical sequence of .jpg images. This is as simple as loading your video into the correct program and then choosing File>Export>Image Sequence or the like, depending on your precise program (I used After Effects). Each of these images could then be individually loaded onto my cube, in a loop I created which served to load one image, and then the image numerically after it, until it reached the end of all the pictures, and at this point it would loop back onto itself. In this way I was able to put “canned video” onto the sides of my cube. The only barrier between my current project and the live video cube I was hoping for lies in finding a way to quickly capture and load live images onto my cube. So far I have not been able to do this but my main problems have not been in programming but in logistical processes of finding compatible camcorders, software and computers. The idea is to use an online program which is normally used for time-lapse photography, and set it to capture a picture every 30th of a second (corresponding to a standard television signal). This program would also give each picture a standard name and numerical sequence attachment. My program of course could read in these pictures then and load them in the proper sequence with minimal delay between reality and display.