Broad Area Colloquium For AI-Geometry-Graphics-Robotics-Vision
(CS 528)

Modeling by Drawing

Adam Finkelstein
Computer Science Department
Princeton University Monday, Nov. 10, 2003, 4:15PM
TCSeq 200


Today's desktop graphics technology can soundly outperform the million dollar 3D graphics workstation of a decade ago. However, this revolution in 3D performance has had only a modest impact on people's lives. One reason is that the average person does not create 3D content -- it's too difficult with existing tools. This might explain why the most noticeable impact of 3D graphics is entertainment: the game and movie industries can afford to hire trained experts to painstakingly create beautifully-detailed scenes.

Why should it be so hard to create 3D content? After all, many of us find it easy to sketch out a rough illustration of using a pencil or chalk board. As palmtop and tablet-PC devices are beginning to proliferate, we should be able to use such devices to sketch out our ideas at a coffee shop, the way we might use a napkin today. School teachers, architects, clothing and industrial designers, and story tellers should be able to easily create illustrations involving 3D shapes by somehow sketching with a computer.

In this talk I will describe our own efforts and those of others to make such applications possible. I will argue that a key enabling technology is "non-photorealistic rendering" (NPR). This relatively new field of computer graphics seeks to leverage principles that artists and illustrators have developed over many centuries for conveying information. I will survey NPR research, and describe some of the challenges and new directions for the field.

About the Speaker

Adam Finkelstein is an associate professor of computer science at Princeton University. His research interests in computer graphics include non-photorealistic rendering, multiresolution techniques, animation, and applications of computer graphics in art. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1996. From 1987 to 1990, he was a software engineer at Tibco where he wrote software for people who trade stock. He was an undergraduate student at Swarthmore College (class of 1987) where he studied (occasionally) physics and computer science.


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