MindTex Review

It’s been a while since I bought my MindTex license (it was in 9/6/12), so this time I’m going to talk about this cheap and useful application.

Here is the original overview from the web pageMindTexReviewIcon

MindTex is a normal map generation utility for game developers and 3D professionals alike. Built to rival the competition in quality without the steep price, whether you want to generate a normal, height, specular, self-illumination, or occlusion map, you can easily do it in seconds flat from a single source texture with MindTex. 

Integrating MindTex into your 3D content pipeline will save you substantial amounts of time, money, and effort, allowing you to focus on what is really important: building immersive worlds and making your ideas a reality.

Here is the original MindTex video demonstration:

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Power plant wheeled

This is a power plant asset modeled in Blender 3D and texturized with Photoshop CS2, this was started some time ago (you can see it in this old post), this asset took too long because some troubles with the bakes in blender, for some reason they were taking too long, and when I say too long I mean it never stop, I didn’t know what happened exactly but now it worked and decided to give it a try, and here is.. I think it’s finished, but maybe later I will polish this.

CGT-PPW01

High polygon comparision with image reference:

CGT-PowerPlant_003

And a video here:

 

Emissive Maps – Test scenes video

emissiveTestScenes

Here is a sample video of my emissive maps test scenes I’ve done untill now

 

You can see the full tutorials here:

Also I’ve used some shaders made by Martinsh (some kind of volume light shader), so kudos for him!

Scanning with Skanect and Kinect

Some months ago I had an assignment at work related to 3D scanning, and to do this obviously we needed a 3d scanner. At work we have the Konica Minolta 9i Vivid (and the Microscribe 3D scanner), but the problem is that the Minolta scanner has some requirements to work properly (temperature, dust free area, light controlled area, etc) and it is really bulky! there is a briefcase that contains the camera and some other containers for the calibration sistem, rails, tripod and well you know what I mean..

Bulky Minolta 9i Vivid
Minolta 9i Vivid

Another 3d scanner?

An alternative was to buy another 3d digitizer, a portable one that could be used in outdoors, with only a laptop and a portable power generator to get 110 volts ( the kinect camera requieres it and we needed a lamp there due to the darkness in some areas of the tomb) but at the same time it was impossible to wait a bit longer because we have a limited time to make the 3D scanning, so buy another one was not a option.

The place where the scanner was intended to be used was a really dusty area, too much sun (despite the area was kinda isolated with awnings), too windy from time to time, and very moist inside (it was an ancient tomb 500 BC) so it was impossible to use the Minolta scanner that we own.

Sunny area
Sunny area outside the tomb
Sunny area 2
Sunny area 2

So due to circumstances, we decided to use the kinect that comes with the MS Xbox console we have, and Skanect software.  Maybe the kinect is not the best scanner but it was the only option to get the job done.

Once we got the Skanect software and Kinect hardware, testing was done to understand the working on it, despite it looked very easy to use.

The real model
The real model
Scan test
Scan test
Liver test
Liver test
Testing with people from the excavation
Testing with people from the excavation

Once everything was ready to start, we moved to the excavation area and started to digitize, and as a matter of fact we have to use surgical masks and gloves to avoid DNA contamination in the area, because further investigations in that subject were going to be done in the area when the 3d scanning get completed.

gloves

Archaeologists working

Working
Working
Excavation area
Excavation area

Tomb’s entrance

Tomb's entrance
Tomb’s entrance

Inside the tomb, this was just some of the artifacts encountered there, according to the archaeologist that ceramic is a representation of a warrior or “chaman”

The "Guardian"
The “Guardian”

Some facts:

  • Light conditions after 10:00 am results in poor performance for the scanner.
  • Light conditions Before 10 am were good, so we decided to work from 7 am to 8-9 am.
  • Too much dust, even the laptop had some problems due to that, and corrective and preventive maintenance were done each day after scanning
  • The laptop graphic card (HD Graphics 3000) turn out to work pretty well with Skanect software, even better than my desktop PC Quadro FX 4600.
  • It was great to work with archaeologist guys, at least for some hours
  • The first days working on field, I forgot to wear sunscreen and I got my skin burnt, that’s why ended up using a sweatshirt next days after that “funny” event x).

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Here is a sample model scanned with Kinect, it is not so perfect because is was not reconstructed with high definition.

In my opinion I think it was a nice experience to work (at least for a couple of ours each day we get there) with the guys in the excavation, they seem to be really interested in what we do and how we do, and I have to say that I feel the same, because working behind a desk all day long is, sometimes, kinda “tired”, and have an opportunity to work in the field closely with them, and being able to ask questions about their work, and saw how they did it, was a really good experience.

And not to mention that is not very usual for common people to get inside an ancient tomb and be one of the first persons to get there after 1500 years.

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