|Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] Anyone ever see this 3d printing technology that
What is this?
We have a way of converting 3D content, like light fields, 3D scans, and
3D models, into 2D patterns that can be printed on commodity printing
equipment like the inkjet and laser printers you may have at home. Our
process creates two patterns which can be layered on top of one another
to visually recreate a 3D scene.
What is a "light field print"?
"Light field" in light field print refers to the bundle of light rays
being emitted from the surface of the print, whose intensities vary both
in angle and location. This allows the print to steer distinct images
in many directions, and when your two eyes catch two of these images
your brain interprets it as a 3D image.
How is this different than a hologram?
A light field print is different from a traditional hologram in that it
uses a ray-based description of the display surface as opposed to a
wave-based description. Wave-based math would require the use of very
small surface features to create a 3D effect. We can use light fields to
reproduce virtual depth using features that are many orders of magnitude
larger than those in holograms, letting us make hologram-like prints
using off-the-shelf printers.
Where did this come from?
Lumii's three founders were all working on their PhDs at MIT just a few
years ago. Matt and Daniel both worked at the MIT Media Lab, (Camera
Culture Group and Tangible Media Group) while Tom was in the RLE. Lumii
came out of a natural combination of their interests. To make
large-format hologram-like prints using unmodified inkjet printers, you
need to take advantage of the foundational work on multilayer displays
in Matt's thesis. And you also need to be able to crunch the numbers,
by designing new classes of large-scale algorithms capable of processing
up to a teraray (trillion light rays) per print, using deep insights
into optimization theory found in Tom's work. As light field prints are
a fundamentally new design medium, it necessitates the development of a
new design language codifying how people interact with the medium, both
in terms of content creation and consumption. As someone who worked on
pioneering tangible 3D interfaces, Daniel is uniquely qualified to solve
Ok, great. When can I get one?
At Lumii we're working hard on creating a public facing service to
enable everyone to print mind bending 3D effects on boring old printers.
However, we're not ready for that yet. Right now, we're running a small
alpha program to select a few early projects where we will work closely
with content creators to make something that puts this new medium to the
test. If you've got a killer idea for a project pitch it to us on our
alpha signup. If you are excited just to see it for yourself –sit tight,
it's coming soon!
Who's this for?
What we're developing is a fundamentally new print medium, and we've
gotten lots of interest across a variety of industries as well as from
makers and artists who want to print these at home. Medical device
companies are interested in visualizing 3D medical images, for example
MRI data. There are also a lot of applications in the architecture and
construction space, related to on-site visualization of building plans.
And there are big opportunities in advertising, using our prints to
produce highly-engaging 3D messaging for the backlit ad boxes already in
place in airports, malls and transit systems.
What kind of 3D sources work with Lumii?
In principle, anything that can be rendered on a computer can work with
our process. The basic input to the Lumii Light Field Engine is a light
field. For simplicity, you can think of the light field as lots of
images of a scene taken from different perspectives.
In practice, not many people have light field images available. So for
now the easiest way to get content into our system is to make a three.js
scene. Any static scene you can render in three.js you can print in a
Lumii print! At the moment, you can import OBJ, Collada, blender, and
other formats into threejs to get started. Three.js also provides a
native exporter for blender and maya (find them on github), and
solutions exist for 3ds max.
Can I use my 2D images and assets?
While the best looking Lumii prints are created starting with native 3D
content, there are a couple of options for working with 2D content. But
be warned, they both take some work.
Option 1 is 3D upconversion. Trained artists and specialized software
can create 3D information by painting a depth map onto 2D content. This
takes time, talent, and money, and at Lumii we aren't able to help with
3D upconversion at this time.
Option 2 is to work with layered 2D information. In many 2D design
packages such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, content is
already broken up into layers to more easily work with each part of the
design, such as the background, subject, text, and various visual
effects. It is possible to assign the layers of a 2D image to different
depths, thus creating a 3D effect when printed as a Lumii print.
Original 2D Photo
Photographer: Sylvia (Flickr Portfolio)
License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.
Content split across depth layers
Shown: three.js editor
It's clear that the above example, showing 2D content split into layers
and separated in depth, will require additional work to achieve a
visually pleasing result. For one, missing content in the background and
mid-ground layers will need to be filled in artistically. Additionally,
the horse, though it will float off the page, will appear flat rather
than dimensional, like the photo below.
I want to print business cards / post cards / make a selfie booth!
The small prints we've been showing are for promotional purposes.
Initially we're focusing on large prints.
Does this always need a backlight?
Right now, everything we're printing is transmission mode. It needs a
source of illumination behind it.
Why did I see a Lumii print that looks noisy or hairy?
Like all glasses-free 3D displays, Lumii prints have a working
field-of-view (FOV). If you view your print inside the FOV, it should
look good. However, when viewing outside the FOV, depending on the
print, you'll see a noisy looking image. The GIF below gives an example
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