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How PBR and Photogrammetry are changing real-time asset workflows.

Historically, when working on technical art direction for a video game, every game was different. The 2D/3D art pipeline was defined by the visual style of the game, hardware capabilities and the render pipeline, which was often built specifically for a particular game.

But if the style you need is photo-realistic, why bother creating assets just for one project? Any photo-realistic asset would match the style and with tools like Quixel Mixer, artists can even employ workflows to batch-create stylized graphics using photo-realistic input assets.

The "Licensing" Loophole

A lot of products you buy come with a “software licensing agreement,” typically stating something like…

“The software that is part of this product is licensed to you, not sold.”

and further, something along the lines of…

“We reserve the right to modify this licensing agreement at any time with or without notice.”

What’s the purpose of a clause like this?

An array of conveyor belts throwing thousands of floppy disks into a lava pool

Is DRM jeopardizing our cultural heritage?

Thanks to restoration, reproduction and conservation technologies, we have hundreds and in some cases thousands of years worth of cultural assets available. Old books, sheet music or stage plays can be enjoyed by consumers or used by researchers to learn more about a bygone era. We can even look at cave paintings from tens of thousands of years ago.

But are we making sure that the cultural assets we currently produce will be available for generations to come?

iOS Needs User Accounts

Apple just added mouse/trackpad support to iOS and launched a line of keyboards for and trackpads for the iPad. The iPad is being marketed as a portable computer that you can replace your… well… computer with. But unfortunately, it's not. Not without user accounts.

Some Raytraced Glass Body.

Why Hardware Raytracing is Awesome

Raytracing is a great technlogy to render photo-realistic lighting, reflections and even refractions and caustics. But with ever-increasing rendering resolutions, we've never really been able to do any great-looking full-scene raytracing in real-time and a capacity that is ready for consumer video games and other applications. The next Generation of Video game consoles, Playstation 5 and XBOX One Series X are going to include dedicated ray-tracing hardware. Does that mean, we can now ray-trace everything? No, unfortunately it does not, but here is why hardware raytracing is still awesome.

CrowdsourcingEthicsHero

Business Trend of the Decade: Crowdsourcing Social Responsibilities

Conducting a business involves certain social responsibility, often mandated by laws and regulations. But what if you could reap the profits from the business model without the inconvenience of having to comply with those regulatory, legal and ethical nuisances that slow down your expansion?

The Erosion of Console Game Quality

With the reduction of quality standards in favor of faster and cheaper submissions, the quality of game console ecosystems has been slowly eroding.

Car Emissions Regulations Don't Make Sense

Let me ask this provocative question:

Why is it legal to drive a 30 year old diesel but when your 3year old, much cleaner car doesn't pass the smog check, you're not allowed to drive it?

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CarPlay and cellular infrastructure

CarPlay is a great concept, increasing the lifespan of vehicles by potentially running their infotainment apps through connected smartphones with ever evolving software. It’s been around for a while now and it’s installed in millions of vehicles from different manufacturers. But it’s still a gimmicky feature, because a major point has been left out in the design of the Apps: offline functionality.

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Cheetah 3D Keyboard Bindings

Cheetah 3D has a place in my heart as the smoothest 3D package out there. Even though I also use Maya for procedural and scripting stuff and Blender for baking, nothing comes close to how polished and efficient Cheetah3D is.

I would like to share my key bindings with fellow Cheetah3D users since Cheetah3D doesn't come with a lot of default key bindings. I've build this mapping over a few years of using Cheetah3D and with it, working with Cheetah3D can be extremely efficient.

Picture of an electric toothbrush with a display showing

To get away with planned obsolescence, just call it DRM

The idea that customers just “license” software products instead of owning them has manifested and I see a daunting development in the consumer electronics world that could potentially lead to products becoming obsolete because the associated software is deemed obsolete by the manufacturer.

Thunderbolt Target Boot Mode

Macs still have this incredibly useful, not very well-known feature: target disk and target boot mode. In combination, they allow you to boot one Mac using the boot partition of another Mac. Why is that useful? Well, here’s the number one use-case: If you have a MacBook – a portable work computer – but need more processing power (or a quieter workspace), you can hook up your MacBook to an faster desktop Mac and work with all the data and preferences just as if you’d be working on your MacBook. This is also useful for working with sensitive data that shouldn’t be copied to another drive as your Data essentially remains on the other boot computer’s drive.

The Turing Test loop: Extrapolating the reCAPTCHA Development

For robots to serve us better, they need to be able to tell the difference between humans and other, potentially malicious robots.

Every time we prove we're not a robot through reCAPTCHA, robots get a tiny bit smarter. This means that in the future, the threshold for proving that we're not robots will go up, which means that we'll have to answer more complex questions to the robots that ask us for the proof that we're not robots. The increasing complexity of those questions answered also increases the quality of the learning potential for the robots.

It's an interesting cycle that just got started in the last years

In the future, we'll have gained a lot of time to spend, having to work less because robots will work for us.

But we'll spend more time proving that we're not robots in return.

Right now, this development is marginal, but in a few years, with exponentially increasing processing power and decentralized machine learning, it'll become significant.

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