Autodesk

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If you’re a member of ACM, you have access to about 1200 books online through Safari and Books24x7. Safari’s catalog is here, Books24x7 is here. Just login using your ACM ID & password. I can’t say the book selection is that exciting, some are half a decade old or older (bad for books about APIs), though there are few that might be of interest. If nothing else, there are some guides to popular packages and languages that might help you out.

Worth a reminder: if you’re an ACM SIGGRAPH member, you also get access to essentially all computer graphics papers in the ACM’s Digital Library. I took a peek today to see if the I3D 2012 papers were up yet (the conference runs this weekend) – no joy there, though 2011’s are available. At least, I’m pretty sure 2012’s are not up. Personally, I find their searcher kind of poor if you want to search through proceedings, but is otherwise serviceable for individual articles. As usual, Ke Sen Huang’s page is the place to go to get most of the latest articles (with no membership needed).

Oh, just to reel off some other free books that might be of interest: Autodesk’s “Imagine Design Create” book, a free PDF. More for designers but full of pretty pictures and there’s stuff on game graphic design, along with films and much else. If you’d rather have the coffee-table version, get it on Amazon.

Me, I just finished the crowd-sourced sci-fi “Machine of Death” compilation, which has nothing to do with computer graphics but was an interesting bedtime read. Free as an ebook or audiobook, or again in physical form from Amazon.

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Mauricio Vives pointed out that the Autodesk program I mentioned yesterday, where students and educators can get Autodesk products and training for free, also applies to veterans and “displaced professionals.” See this page for the logic. The fine print on the registration page is:

An Autodesk Assistance Program participant is either a veteran or unemployed individual who has (a) previously worked in the architecture, engineering, design or manufacturing industries, has completed the online registration for the Autodesk Assistance Program, and upon request by Autodesk is able to provide proof of eligibility for that program.

This is a nice thing.

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I think I need to pop my head out of my gopher-hole more often and see what my company’s doing. It turns out Autodesk software – including Maya, 3DS Max, Mudbox, AutoCAD, and everything else – is now free to students and educators. Just register and you’re good to go. Wow, this is a big change from the old system, and is definitely great to see.

There are also a number of betas from Autodesk free to anyone: one is 123D, a modeler that is aimed to help out the Maker crowd and 3d printing. I’ve installed this but haven’t played with it yet.

Another project is Photofly 2.0, where you upload a number of images and it makes a 3D model from the data (i.e., photogrammetry). This is similar to My3dScanner. I tried these two out on a set of photos of a bunch of bananas, some taken with a flash and some without, a hard test case. I definitely didn’t follow the guidelines. My3dScanner threw up its hands, Photosynth’s point cloud was incomprehensible, Photofly gave it a sporting chance, getting a cloud and making a mesh – no magic bullet yet, but fun to try. I’m now even tempted to RTFM, as results were better than I thought.

Photosynth (examine set of photos here):

Photofly’s cubist rendering – it did output an interesting Wavefront OBJ model:

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