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…

 



 

Homer

“Homer” (exploration)

Microsoft Corp.
2003

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.

 



 

Communicator

“Communicator” (concept)

Futuristic Design, Inc.
1999

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.

 



 

Siberia

“Siberia” (concept)

Newfire, Inc.
1996

Please excuse the awful rendering of this important concept (visual programming and runtime debugging). During the days of programming 3D scenes in JavaScript and VRML for playback in web browsers, this design explored how it would be much more direct to connect the objects together and visualize the running code in a completely immersive 3D modeling and animation environment. Visual runtime debugging of code in 3space till does not exist in this form to this day.

 



 

Torch and Catalyst

Catalyst and Torch

Newfire, Inc.
1996

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.

 



 

Axial Architect

Axial Architect

Axial, Inc.
1996

When people created real time 3D graphics in the mid 1990’s, they had pretty good modelers to work with but little in the way of an integrated development environment to help put the artwork together with the code. This design concept for Architect was based on Microsoft Visual Studio, but it predated Microsoft Expression Blend by a decade. One of the key pieces of functionality was illustrated above – the ability to drag and drop a behavior on top of geometry to apply it without the need for further programming in JavaScript and VRML.

 



 

Texturize

“Texturize” (a Pixar RenderMan utility)

Adobe Systems, Inc.
1990

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).

ESOTERICA
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.