First-person shooter engine in 265 lines of Javascript


Hunter Loftis, who created the fractal terrain generation in 130 lines of Javascript engine, has done it again: a a full-blown first-person shooter engine in 265 lines (demo, source). He used a technique called ray casting, and goes into some detail about this choice and where this could go next.

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Was the Mona Lisa meant to be 3D?

NewImage

Was the Mona Lisa one of the earliest 3D artworks? Scientists studying the painting and a slightly different version possibly painted by Da Vinci or his students think the intent might have been to create a stereoscopic pair. From Discovery News:

(The University of Bamberg researchers) found that the horizontal difference between the two paintings was about 2.7 inches (69 millimeters), which is close to the average distance between a person's two eyes. (When a person observes an object, each eye sees a slightly different perspective of the object, both of which are sent to the brain and transformed into the three-dimensional representation of the object that we "see.")

(Discovery News, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)

Praying mantises wearing 3D glasses

Newcastle University researchers outfitted praying mantises with tiny 3D glasses to better understand the evolution of vision, and potentially improve computer image processing. I wonder if they gave the mantises a headache like they do me. (Thanks, Ari Pescovitz!)

Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell (book review)

Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell centers on a beautiful, reprinted collection of diabolical 1860s French stereoscopic cards. On each card is an image of a detailed, intricate clay diorama depicting life in hell. Each card tells a story, but the story of the collection itself is far more interesting.

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Futuristic armor for organs


Viaframe's renders of armor for your organs are sure pretty. I think they'd be a little terminal for everyday use, but they'd make great canopic storage for the old burial chamber-oonie.

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BBC cans 3D broadcasts

"The BBC is to suspend 3D programming for an indefinite period due to a 'lack of public appetite' for the technology." [BBC]

Fabergé Fractals


Here's a mesmerizing gallery of "Fabrege Fractals" created by Tom Beddard, whose site also features a 2011 video of Fabrege-inspired fractal landscapes that must be seen to be believed. They're all made with Fractal Lab, a WebGL-based renderer Beddard created.

Fabergé Fractals by Tom Beddard, using his WebGL-based fractal engine, Fractal Lab. (via Colossal)

Watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly, in 3D

What happens inside a caterpillar's cocoon? Scientists got to watch the whole process with the help of X-ray 3D scanning technology. In the video above, you can watch a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. Over the course of 16 days its breathing tubes (shown in blue) and its digestive system (shown in red) change shape and position within the body, while other structures grow from scratch.

Ed Yong has a great story to go with this, too. All about why it's important to actually watch the process happening in a single caterpillar, instead of just relying on the data scientists have collected from years of dissecting different caterpillars at different stages in the transformation.

Iconic 3D movie audience photo taken 60 years ago this week

LIFE 3 D 1952

NewImage Sixty years ago this week, JR Eyerman snapped the iconic photo above during the Hollywood premiere of Bwana Devil, the first full-length 3D movie. "A LION in your lap! A LOVER in your arms!" This is the caption that accompanied the photo in LIFE:

These megalopic creatures are the first paying audience for the latest cinematic novelty, Natural Vision. This process gets a three-dimensional effect by using two projectors with Polaroid filters and giving the spectators Polaroid spectacles to wear. The movie at the premiere, called Bwana Devil, did achieve some striking three-dimensional sequences. But members of the audience reported that the glasses were uncomfortable, the film itself — dealing with two scholarly looking lions who ate up quantities of humans in Africa — was dull, and it was generally agreed that the audience itself looked more startling than anything on the screen.

"LIFE at the Movies: When 3-D Was New"

Spacecraft 3D: Nifty robotic space travel augmented-reality app from NASA JPL

I recently had a chance to visit NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory with Miles O'Brien. At the NASA center in Pasadena, engineers are readying for the long-anticipated landing of the Mars Curiosity rover on Aug. 5. During our visit, we met with the team behind a cool new iOS app from JPL: NASA's Spacecraft 3D, an augmented reality application that allows users to "learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used to explore our solar system, study Earth, and observe the universe."

Using a printed AR Target and the camera on your mobile device, you can get up close with these robotic explorers, see how they move, and learn about the the engineering feats used to expand our knowledge and understanding of space. Spacecraft 3D will be updated over time to include more of the amazing spacecraft that act as our robotic eyes on the earth, the solar system and beyond!

The app is really a ton of fun. You can download it here for free, iPad and iPhone and iPod Touch. Here's the JPL press release announcing its release.

Turning web-pages 3D

Edan Kwan's 3Dit bookmarklet turns any page into a weird kind of 3D display, by turning CSS levels into a Z-axis. Difficult to explain, easy to see -- click through to try it.

Using CSS 3d to make every website into 3d(kind of). It is a bit buggy but you can bookmark the script to your bookmark bar and have some 3D fun on any websites by one single click!

The get offset function is not accurate, it looks weird then the div is too large but it looks alright on most of the sites.

LAB! - 3D it! (via Waxy)

Stereogranimator: transform historical stereographs from NYPL archives into animated gifs and 3d images

Above, "Dixon crossing Niagara below the Great Cantilever Bridge," U.S.A., 1895-1903. And you can make your own, with Stereogranimator, a new project from NYPL Labs. Stereogranimator is " a tool for transforming historical stereographs from The New York Public Library's vast collections into shareable 3D web formats."

(thanks, Mikael Jorgensen!)

Highrise: a documentary built with WebGL and other open standards


Brett sez, "What does citizenship mean in a transnational, globalised context? One Millionth Tower, the latest strand of the multi-media, multi- award-winning HIGHRISE project from National Film Board of Canada, teams a group of highrise residents in Toronto with architects and animators to re-imagine their surroundings and transform their dilapidated highrise neighbourhood into a vibrant, resident-led community.

"Using cutting-edge open-source technology, this interactive documentary enables a 3D storytelling environment within a web browser, incorporating the magic of cinema, architecture and animation. A hyper-local story with a global resonance in its vision for a more human-friendly urban planet – and world wide web."

This thing is built in WebGL, which replicates the functionality of OpenGL, a popular open standard for drawing and animating 3D objects, using brwoser-only technology. It's exciting stuff on the tehcnical side, but it's also a damned cool and well-thought-through documentary that goes beyond a mere tech demo.

High Rise

Top Gun: new 360-degree flight simulator for fighter jet pilots unveiled

Geert Matthys, research and development manager at Barco, a Belgian company specializing in high-definition projectors and displays, gives an explanation inside a fully immersive 360-degree flight simulator in Kuurne October 11, 2011. Barco has unveiled what company executives claim is the ultimate fighter jet training tool designed to reproduce reality exactly as a pilot sees it. The dome is the first flight simulator to give trainee pilots a full 360-degree view of the world as they conduct virtual missions, said Barco.

More photos below. Related story here at Reuters.

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Randomly generated 3D spaceships to print on your 3D printer, generated with WebGL


Dolf sez, "Dolf Veenvliet aka macouno of Entoforms fame has been working on some fun tools to generate 3D forms. Under the ShapeWright moniker Dolf has produced a random space ship generator entitled shipWright that generates unique configurations of space ships ready for 3D printing (and freely downloadable). You can also have a personalized Space Ship generated by your name, or whatever text you enter into the build system."

This is pretty cutting-edge browser stuff. To get Firefox to try it, I had to force WebGL on -- type about:config into your location bar, then search for "webgl.force-enabled" and set it to "true."

(Thanks, Dolf!)