Fall Quarter – Week Eight

October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yesterday was Farah’s any my presentation at ChiWIC.  We have spent the past week preparing and practicing.  On Tuesday Farah and I gave our presentation to one of Dr. McDonald’s classes.  We did another practice presentation on Friday during our meeting with Dr. Wolfe.  The actual presentation at the conference went very well.  The rest of the conference was interesting.  We arrived in time for the Plenary talk by Tanya Berger-Wolf which was an interesting  discussion of her research in Computation Population Biology.  We also attended the graduate school/ career panel and the imposter syndrome workshop.  Finally there was a career fair lunch where we were able to chat with various women in computing about their careers.  It was a very enjoyable and interesting day.

Now that we are finished with conference presentations we are back to working on reducing the polygon count of Paula.  Over the next week I will experiment with remodeling the teeth while Farah works on the eyelashes.

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Fall Quarter – Weeks Six and Seven

October 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

The last couple of weeks Farah and I have been busy getting ready for our lightning talk at ChiWIC next week.  Last week (October 12) Farah and I met with Dr. Wolfe and we discussed our lightning talk and came up with a rough outline for our slides and script.  After meeting with Dr. Wolfe,  Farah and I worked together on creating the first draft of the slides.  Over the weekend the slides were edited by Dr. Wolfe, Farah, and me.   Farah also worked on writing the script to go along with the presentation, while I worked on using PowerPoint’s trigger function to create a slide that reveals the number of polygons in each area of the model once the audience guesses the part.

On Tuesday, Farah and I gave our presentation to Dr.Wolfe’s class.  Overall the presentation went well.  The presentation was within our time limit and the class seemed interested.

At our meeting today we made a few last adjustments to the slides.  Then we returned to our work on reducing Paula’s polygon count.  So far we’ve made an attempt at reducing polygon count using the ProOptimizer modifier that is native to 3DS Max.  While ProOptimizer can reduce the polygon count to about a quarter of the initial face, it also produces harsh edges along the profile of the object.  We discussed options for remodeling and believe that we can successfully remodel the teeth and eyelashes from planes using an opacity map.  Instead of having each eye lash and to0th modeled we will create a curved plane and apply an image of the teeth (or lashes) to the plane.  Then we will control the opacity of the plane with a black and white image of the teeth.  The white sections will be the teeth and will be opaque and the black sections will be the negative space and will be transparent.  The lashes and the teeth are the two objects with the greatest number of polygons.  The lashes have 17, 356 polygons and the teeth have 8,926.  By remodeling we should be able to get both of these to less than a thousand.  This will reduce the total number of polygons by almost 40% and result in significant time savings during rendering.

To determine the extent of the time savings in wall clock time we have a script that saves the time rendering starts and finishes and then calculates the elapsed time.  Using this script we will be able to compare the time different versions of the model take to render and judge our progress towards realtime playback.

Fall Quarter – Week Five

October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

This past week was the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Baltimore, MD.  We had an early flight out of Chicago, so everyone was up bright and early Wednesday morning to get to O’Hare.  Unfortunately out flight was delayed about an hour by the wet and foggy weather.

We made it to Baltimore with plenty of time to hang up the poster, check into our hotel and visit the career fair before the start of the poster session.  The poster session went really well.  Farah and I talked to a bunch of people about our work.  It was a lot of fun to share our research and hear about the work some of the other presenters did.

Thursday and Friday went by really fast.  We attended a few of the presentations, spent some more time at the career fair and got to see a little bit of the city.  We met several other students and teachers from the Chicago area.  From them we learned that there will be a regional Grace Hopper conference in Chicago  (ChiWIC) in a few weeks.  Farah and I decided to submit an abstract for a lightning talk, a quick 5 minute presentation, about the work we are doing this year. 

Friday morning there was a breakfast for the CREU and DREU participants and mentors at the conference.  It was fun to talk to some of the other students and hear about their research and experience, as well as talk to some of the other CREU mentors.  Farah, Dr. Wolfe and I had lunch with a group of students and faculty from the Chicago area on Friday.  It was a good opportunity to get to know some of the people we will probably see in a few weeks at ChiWIC.

Saturday morning we had to head back to Chicago.  The conference was a great experience, I’m glad we were able to make it.

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