Wojciech Matusik, MIT, and Hanspeter Pfister, Harvard University
Novel and innovative digital output devices, such as stereoscopic TVs, passive (e-Ink) displays, and 3D printers, are entering the mass market. They are rapidly improving in quality and decreasing in price. This trend empowers users to consume and produce digital media like never before. However, while there has been tremendous progress in the hardware development of these output devices, the provided digital content creation software, algorithms, and tools are largely underdeveloped. For example, creating a 3D hardcopy of an animated computer graphics character is well beyond the reach of consumers, and to approximate the character's appearance and deformation behavior using multi-material 3D printers is difficult or perhaps even impossible for professionals. The main issues are a lack of accurate previews of how the output will look like, a lack of standardization between devices with similar capabilities, and a lack of accurate conversion tools and algorithms to go from the virtual (i.e., the computer model) to the real (i.e., the physical output).
This research involves the development of a complete process and software framework that allows moving from abstract computer models to their physical counterparts efficiently and accurately. Designing this process is posing the following fundamental computational challenges: (1) accurate and efficient simulation methods that can predict the properties and behavior of an output without physically generating it; (2) efficient methods to compute an output gamut that describe physically-realizable outputs for a given device; (3) general gamut mapping algorithms that convert abstract computer models to realizable points in the device gamut; and (4) accurate perceptual metrics that allow comparing different output elements during the gamut mapping algorithm. This research is focusing on two emerging classes of important output devices: multi-view auto-stereoscopic displays and multi-material 3D printers. The research is creating a complete and general software architecture that will support both existing and future output devices.