BlackboxFX is a sister company of xRez, acting as a collaboration with ace 3D artist Ethan Summers. BlackboxFX’s mission is to employ highend creative visual effects talent toward socially meaningful projects, both in the entertainment, scientific, and environmental action sectors.
One highly compelling method to reveal the vast level of detail contained in a gigapixel image is to print it in large format over a very long length. Based on our 2008 Yosemite Extreme Panoramic Imaging Project, xRez Studio printed a continuous 40 foot x 5 foot print at 300 dpi for exhibition at Siggraph 2008.The image shown was sourced from a 150,000 pixel render from Maya and Mental Ray, having been derived from several hundred images shot during the project.
xRez principal Greg Downing has been at the forefront of photogrammetry technique for some time, having worked on the seminal ImageModeler while at RealViz. Later consulting and working with major effects studios, Greg has applied photogrammetry in several major feature films, including “Spiderman 3″, and “I Am Legend”. Photogrammetry is the process of deriving original 3D modeling data from 2D source images, known as the sparse technique.
High Dynamic Range imagery (HDRI) is creating a revolution in digital photography, where the full tonal range of a scene’s lighting can be faithfully captured and recreated. xRez Studio has been at the forefront of this technology development, interacting with key researchers Paul Debevec and Greg Ward. Related to our gigapixel photography, we set out to capture a very high resolution HDR image taken simultaneously with the gigapixel image.
One problem surrounding the needs of cultural heritage research is the acquisition of static on-site photography, which may limit perceived detail in the artifacts later upon inspection. One method which allows re-lighting of artifacts post-shooting is HP Labs researcher Tom Malzbender’s work in polynomial texture mapping, or PTM.
xRez Studio has long utilized infrared capture of gigapixel panoramic scenes, using modified digital camera backs. Used primarily for aesthetic reasons, IR can also be used in service of cultural heritage documentation work, helping reveal hidded details. Similarly, color matrix de-correlation software such as Jon Harman’s excellent Dstretch has been employed by xRez Studio to help analyze Native American rock art on the Colorado Plateau.
A revolution is currently underway in digital photography with time-lapse capture. Showcased in earlier films such as Koyannisquatsi and Baraka by DP Ron Fricke, filmmakers had to previously rely on cumbersome large-format film-based techniques, where film cameras were advanced incrementally. The advent of high-performance digital cameras armed with intervalometers has changed the field entirely, with greater than IMAX resolution possible from a single high performance SLR camera.
One emerging technology with great promise is spherical video, which is an extension of spherical panoramic imagery, but displaying full rate playback of live footage. Spherical video solutions have been available for some time, but lack resolution and quality. One alternative xRez Studio is developing is spherical animation, using emerging panoramic players to deliver interactive pre-rendered sequences for online or site-specific purposes.
One innovative technique developed at xRez Studio is the integration of digital elevation models (DEM) with high-end 3d rendering and gigapixel images. Another innovation we have developed is to integrate time lapse sequences with DEM data, allowing new, inventive cinematography where a virtual camera can dolly deeply into the image while lapsing in time. These techniques can be combined with visual effects technique to provide a vast range of terrain modification or visualization.
Digitally projected full dome theaters are a new and growing form of immersive cinematic presentation for small audiences. There are thousands of these theaters worldwide (see an incomplete list here), and many are domed planetariums that have been retrofitted w/ high resolution digital projectors that “stitch” multiple projections together into one large surround image, allowing very high resolutions at 4 or 8k.
With skillsets culled from 15 years of producing feature film visual effects in major effects facilities, we have high level expertise in concept design, digital environment creation, lighting and rendering, matte painting, compositing, and photogrammetry. We have experience from companies such as Digital Domain, Sony Imageworks, Rhythm & Hues, Dream Quest Images, and Walt Disney Feature Animation.
xRez Studio has been one of the pioneers in digital gigapixel photography, moving it from academic exercises into a viable production methodology for use in multiple applications and markets. Panoramic digital photography has long relied on creating panoramic images by stitching relatively few multiple images together.
National Geographic Magazine contracted xRez principal Eric Hanson in 2006 for an artwork assignment to create the pull-out poster insert for the April 2006 issue commemorating the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. A mix of 3d modeling and matte painting techniques were used to create this hypothetical west coast city, while illustrating some of the core science of earthquake dynamics and urban infrastructure preparedness. ©xRez Studio, 2010.
A standard way to view a gigapixel image is with a zooming interface on a conventionally-sized computer monitor. An alternative method, though rarified, is to display and span the image across a large mosaic of montiors arranged into a single grid. The California Institute for Telecommunication and Information technology, or more succinctly Calit2, has a large gigapixel display wall dubbed the HIPerWall, that xRez Studio has provided gigapixel images to for demonstration purposes.
One highly compelling method to reveal the vast level of detail contained in a gigapixel image is to print it in a large format over a very long length. xRez Studio displayed a 28 foot x 4 foot gigapixel print at 300 dpi of Yosemite Valley, at the 6Sight 2008 Future of Imaging conference in Monterrey.
One highly compelling method to reveal the vast level of detail contained in a gigapixel image is to print it in a large format over a very long length. xRez Studio displayed a 40 foot x 5 foot at 300 dpi gigapixel print of Yosemite Valley, dubbed the “AIE Mega-Print” at the Photo Marketing Association 09 conference in Las Vegas.
One highly compelling method to reveal the vast level of detail contained in a gigapixel image is to print it in large format over a very long length. Based on our 2008 Yosemite Extreme Panoramic Imaging Project, xRez Studio printed a continuous 40 foot x 5 foot print at 300 dpi for exhibition at Siggraph 2008. The image shown was sourced from a 150,000 pixel render from Maya and Mental Ray, having been derived from several hundred images shot during the project.
Digital Storytelling (co-founded by xRez Studio Pricipal Eric Hanson), is an annual seminar on visual effects and story in Oslo, Norway for the last 4 years. In 2009, we staged the first gigapixel photography exhibition adjacent to the event, in the wonderful Filmens Hus complex of the Norwegian Film Institute. Entitled Ekstremfoto: Gigapixel Images in Print, the show contained work from xRez Studio, Kim Baumann-Larsen, and Kai Solberg of both Norwegian and American landscapes.
Ars Electronica, the world’s pre-eminent art and technology organization and festival in Linz Austria, recently completed construction of a new and remarkable dedicated building. In 2009, xRez Studio was asked to provide imagery for the January 2009 grand opening of the new Ars Electronica Center building, with our work to be featured within the central immersive Deep Space installation.
In 2007 Tierra, a top Swedish outdoor clothing manufacturer, made the decision to create a new website that would vividly reflect the companies connection to the outdoors. Tierra understood the value of deeply engaging their customers. They were looking for a way to go a step beyond the status quo of outdoor product photography. Tierra enlisted the marketing and interactivity expertise of the award-winning Swedish advertising agency Goss.