Have a very long love affair with photorealistic CGI, realtime graphics, and 3D UI design. Several old friends at Pixar helped me get started in the early days when SIGGRAPH was still *the* show to attend each year to see in person what the wizards had cooked up. Those were the days…
Ten years ago, as part of an interview loop with the Strategic Prototyping team at Microsoft, I designed a home entertainment app that wouldn’t be out of place on today’s Xbox One. The key idea was the ability to not only speak to it as the primary interface but navigate music, photos and television through a simple 3D UI that was geared toward the D-pad. The teleporting concept is how you moved between places in the world instantly to listen to live music or local TV.
Futuristic Design, Inc.
Inspired by Tog’s Starfire video at Sun, this virtual desk was geared toward combining video conferencing with workspace environment to foster collaboration in the office of the future. A bit ahead of its time.
Catalyst and Torch
During the VRML era in the mid-1990’s, we designed a 3D Animation and Modeling app called Catalyst to create real-time 3D games for a playback engine called Torch, which was browser plug-in based. There were a lot of great ideas and excellent work done during that period, but as usual, it was too early for widespread adoption of 3D in the mainstream.
“Texturize” (a Pixar RenderMan utility)
Adobe Systems, Inc.
The Texturize utility took Adobe Type 1 font geometry from Adobe Type Manager and converted it into Pixar RenderMan RIB format using Trim Curves (no small feat I assure you). Based on prevous work I did called “TextMan” on the first color Macintosh II using Pixar MacRenderMan. This was a very early 3D Font geometry creation app that predates and inspired Pixar Typestry (got to demo this for my friends at Pixar around the time of MacRenderMan).
The futuristic “S” image shown above was actually a mistake that came about by applying a RenderMan metal shader incorrectly to the geometry. But, I loved the outtakes that Pixar would show with their early renderings and movies so much I decided to keep it.
The app UI shown was for the NeXT computer, which I was experimenting with at the time. The geometry was generated on a Macintosh by running TextMan, then the RIB files were transferred to an Indigo workstation that I had borrowed from Silicon Graphics (SGI) across the street in Mountain View, CA.