Check out Tao Chen’s video tech demo of a software project he created with a team of researchers from Tel Aviv University and shared shared at SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 — this is the kind of stuff reminds you that we are living in the future, and that any data reconstruction that can be performed on digital images eventually will be performed on digital images. Particularly interesting in the context of a year where many people are re-examining 3D scanning and 3D design from the ground up to find solutions that can meet with the imagination of the endusers.
…The video demo is genuinely jaw-dropping stuff. It takes us through a series of photographs, showing how with just a few clicks of the mouse, 3-Sweep can turn the objects inside them into resizable, turnaroundable 3-D models. The first two clicks establish the object’s profile; the third traces its main axis, with the software snapping intelligently to the object along the way, like a more sophisticated version of Photoshop’s magic lasso. The background of the image is filled in with something like Photoshop’s content-aware fill, allowing the object to be turned and repositioned anywhere in its environment. Basic shapes like beer bottles and jars are easy to pull out of their static surroundings, but we see how more complex objects, like water taps and telescopes, can be similarly mapped with just a little more legwork.
“Our biggest goal is still to help novice users to do this,” Chen explains.
The video’s title, “Extracting Editable Objects from a Single Photo,” is technically correct, but it doesn’t really capture the wow-factor of seeing 3-Sweep in action. YouTube commenters do a better job. Things like “Witchcraft,” “Magic,” and “Mind blown” are a common refrain. Another: “RIP 3-D designers.”
…Where 3-D printers will make it easy for us to transform our digital creations into physical ones, Chen hopes tools like 3-Sweep will facilitate just the opposite exchange. He imagines future versions of games like the Sims or Second Life that will allow you to effortlessly populate the game world with objects from your own. It’s wild stuff, breaking down the barriers between our physical and digital lives. And even though many of the core team members have moved on to other projects, they’ve taken note of overwhelming response to the video. Chen says they’re trying to figure out how to get a demo version out to the public as soon as possible.
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