1st Edition

Building Interactive Worlds in 3D Virtual Sets and Pre-visualization for Games, Film & the Web

By Jean-Marc Gauthier Copyright 2005
    446 Pages
    by Routledge

    446 Pages
    by Routledge

    In Building Interactive Worlds in 3D readers will find turnkey tutorials that detail all the steps required to build simulations and interactions, utilize virtual cameras, virtual actors (with self-determined behaviors), and real-time physics including gravity, collision, and topography. With the free software demos included, 3D artists and developers can learn to build a fully functioning prototype. The book is dynamic enough to give both those with a programming background as well as those who are just getting their feet wet challenging and engaging tutorials in virtual set design, using Virtools. Other software discussed is: Lightwave, and Maya. The book is constructed so that, depending on your project and design needs, you can read the text or interviews independently and/or use the book as reference for individual tutorials on a project-by-project basis. Each tutorial is followed by a short interview with a 3D graphics professional in order to provide insight and additional advice on particular interactive 3D techniques-from user, designer, artist, and producer perspectives.

    Chapter 1 - A short history of computer simulations
    History of interactive 3D, from early flight simulaters during World War 2 to state of the art low cost virtual sets.

    - Inverview: Ken Perlin, Director of CAT/NYU, special effects supervisor for Tron, Disney.

    Cahpter 2
    3D basic kit
    - Solutions to practical and conceptual problems
    - Modeling and texturing for interactive 3D
    - Alpha channels and transparencies
    - Photorealistic real-time 3D rendering on a PC or on a Mac
    - Project:designing a skybox
    - Interview: Benjy Bernhard about creating virtual sets for the AMNH's Planetarium

    Chapter 3
    Adding interactivity
    - Director
    - Virtools
    - Reusable behaviors
    - Scripting interactions
    - Simulating natural laws or physics in a virtual set
    - Controlling interactions with input devices: dragging 3D objects
    - Project: 3D artist, Tamiko Thiel, about museum installations

    Chapter 4
    Animation basics
    - Keyframed animation: simple animation in Maya and Lightwave
    - Morphing
    - Animated textures
    - Exporting animated 3D models
    - Character animation: bones and biped
    - Exporting animate dcharacters
    - Scripted animation in Lingo
    - Advanced interactive animation
    - Capturing real-time motion
    - Project: Interactive showcase for virtual actors
    - Interview: dancer-animator, Liza Herlinger-Thompson, Troika Ranch, about character animation

    Chapter 5
    Interactive Lighting
    - Natural lighting
    - Indoor lighting
    - Distant light
    - Spot light
    - Point light
    - Building a virtual light studio: a virtual set for TV
    - Adding interactivity
    - Testing the virtual light studio on a movie set
    - Advanced interactive lighting: particle animation, special effects and volumetrics
    - Project: Interactive lighting of a character isnide a virtual set
    - Interview: interactive 3D artist, Florent Aziosmanoff about lighting for virtual sets

    Chapter 6
    Virtual Cameras
    - Virtual cameras adapted from Hitchkok and Stanley Kubrick's movies
    - Steadycams
    - Movie previsualization
    - Parent-child scripting and targets
    - Controlling virtual cameras
    - Advanced interactivity for virtual cameras: artificial intelligence, portals
    - Tutorial: 3D interactive adaptation from a scene from "Night Hawks" from E. Hopper
    - Interview: director of photography, Kaminski, AI, Minority Report, discusses using virtual sets for movies

    Chapter 7
    3D sound
    - Introduction to immersive experiences
    - Synchronization of display and sound
    - Spatialized sound
    - Controlling several sound streams
    - Real-time 3D sound
    - Sound envelopes
    - Tutorial: sound mixer
    - Interview: 3D Sound inventor and engineer, Bo Gehring, discusses spatialized sound for virtual sets

    Chapter 8
    User interface and input devices
    - Linear and non-linear story telling
    - User testing
    - Testing playback performance
    - Building input devices: serial inputs
    - Midi inputs
    - Interactive phones
    - PDAs
    - Project: Designing a new interactive camera: the "cocktail camera"
    - Interview: Interactive designer, Bill Tomlinson, Synthetic Character Group, MIT MediaLab about input devices for virtual sets

    Chapter 9
    Following a terrain with a remote controlled car
    - Modeling and texturing a terain
    - Modeling the car and obstacles
    - Collision against the terrain
    - Collision between a character and walls and other collisions
    - Adding physics: springs
    - Other methods: ray calculations
    - Project: an online 3D game
    - Interview: game designer, Sokal, creator of Syberiade, about virtual sets for game design

    Chapter 10
    Communication environments
    - Communication from and to the virtual set
    - Introduction to multiplayer 3D games
    - Serial communication
    - Web communication
    - Interactive phone communication
    - Example of online multiplayer 3D game
    - Project: a robot talks to a virtual set
    - Interview: bio-robotic specialist Robert Full, Director of the Polypedal Lab, Bugs Life, Disney and Pixar, about using virtual sets to stimulate robots inspired by insects.

    Chapter 11
    Advanced interactive 3D characters
    - Advanced character animation: blending motions
    - Cloning motions
    - Crowd control
    - Path finding and terrain analysis
    - Project: characters from a movie set are controlled by cellular phones
    - Interview: virtual sets designer, Colin Green, from Pixel Liberation Front, The Matrix, Panic Room, discusses movie previsualization for virtual sets

    Chapter 12
    Artificial intelligence and gameplay for virtual sets
    - Introduction to AI
    - Decision making and self-determination
    - Managing crowd in an open space
    - Integrating AI in a game with AI
    - Project: virtual agora in the antique city of Aphrodisias
    - Interview: 3D interavtive designer, Zach Rosen, about using AI inside virtual sets

    Chapter 13
    Multi-user server and database
    - Database administration
    - Connection to database
    - Saving and loading
    - Managing characters in multi-player environment
    - Chat in 3D world
    - Project: Multi player virtual movie set
    - Interview: CEO of SIA-TV, Adrian Simonovitch, about database driven virtual sets for interactive TV games


    Professor at New York University in the graduate studies department of Interactive Telecommunications; consultant; award-winning 3D artist.

    "Coming at the process of making interactive worlds from a non-gaming viewpoint proves to be a refreshing break...Provided is a version of the Virtools pre-visualisation package, which is used to set up the interaction between objects, cameras and players. And this is where Gauthier comes into his own with paticularly thought-provoking chapters on issues such as camera set-up and pathfinding." - Edge magazine