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Perfect Digital Skin 323

Posted by michael
from the now-with-benzoyl-peroxide dept.
ILMfan writes "BBC Technology is describing a new graphics algorithm for creating perfect virtual skin. This technique by graphics wizard Henrik Jensen (the guy who invented photon mapping) is already being used in movies (it was used on Gollum in Lord of the Rings, and it will be used in the soon-to-be-released van Helsing movie). And perhaps more exciting is that several game companies are planning on using it for their next generation games. So John Carmack are you listening? Any chance this can be included in DOOM3? Of course there are endless other opportunities for virtual humans with perfect skin :-)"
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Perfect Digital Skin

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  • by michael path (94586) * on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:02PM (#9074278) Homepage Journal
    So John Carmack are you listening? Any chance this can be included in DOOM3?

    No, but you should see the urine stream they've mastered for Duke Nukem Forever. WOW!
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:03PM (#9074283) Homepage Journal

    So John Carmack are you listening? Any chance this can be included in DOOM3?

    Sure, add it all in! That way when DOOM3 is finally released it will only be available bundled with a new Cray X1. [cray.com]
  • porn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kinzillah (662884) <<douglas.price> <at> <mail.rit.edu>> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:03PM (#9074287)
    Imagine the effect on the porn industry.
    • Re:porn (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Oh yeah, but can they perfectly model a woman's personality?
    • Re:porn (Score:5, Funny)

      by ian_ian (267296) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:15PM (#9074451)
      Imagine the effect on the porn industry.

      if the new digital startlets are going to have skin like Gollum...er, no thanks.
    • The eyebrows in the BBC picture give it away.

      The rest of it is pretty good, though.
    • by kevlar (13509)
      People can't even stand watching porn when the guy wears a rubber, let alone computer completely artificial porn.

      Half the intrigue with porn is the "amateur" status most "actresses" perform under. Otherwise its yesterday's turkey.
      • Re:porn (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ScottGant (642590)
        People can't even stand watching porn when the guy wears a rubber, let alone computer completely artificial porn.

        Of course, not wearing rubbers is one of the contributing factors of the current HIV scare in the industry at the moment.

        True, when watching an adult movie, many look at it as a fantasy, to view it as living vicariously through others if you will. While viewing an adult movie set in like 1777 and then someone throws on a latex rubber kinda kills the mood. True, this isn't really why people are
        • Re:porn (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Threni (635302)
          > Of course, not wearing rubbers is one of the contributing factors of the current
          > HIV scare in the industry at the moment.

          I don't know...i'm surprised the distributors didn't just slap another $10 on the price and place a `SNUFF!!!` sticker over the title.
        • Re:porn (Score:2, Funny)

          by myster0n (216276)

          Perhaps, with this digital skin, the industry can make movies in the future (perhaps 10 years for truely believable ones) that doesn't put people in jepardy to STD's, AND it doesn't exploit young girls. But I'm sure there will be some people that object to even digital actors "exploiting themselves".

          Out of the blue, this comment made me think of George Lucas. Don't ask me why.

        • by Creepy (93888) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:40PM (#9074746) Journal
          When you see '1777' and start drooling because of open access permissions :P

          When this tech finally gets into the handicam budget used by the porn industry, we'll probably know it by the fact that the guy's dick is 14 feet long and rock hard and the girl's bust is a 44 quintuple Q. This is what is known in the porn industry as "creativity."
    • Re:porn (Score:5, Funny)

      by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:17PM (#9074480) Homepage Journal

      Imagine the effect on the porn industry.

      They'll be able to render new skin on Ron Jeremy rather than having to shave his shoulders and back every couple of days?
    • Re:porn (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Funkitup (260923)
      It will raise some interesting questions.

      Unfortunately a lot of people get off on porn because they know that they are watching two people really doing it.

      If two people simulate it and are then replaced by digital models (by using the technology they used to make gollum) that actually penetrate each other then this would have the benefit of looking good and being much safer - but would run into the above problem. I think it would stimulate an important debate about sex though.

      The thought of being able
    • Re:porn (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:27PM (#9074590)
      This is mod'd insightful??? Is it too much for a moderator to even read the slashdot entry.


      Of course there are endless other opportunities for virtual humans with perfect skin :-)


      What the hell do you people think this means? This is slashdot. It can only mean one of three things - porn, natalie portman, or natalie portman porn.

      Honestly, the smiley at the end is a dead giveaway. Come on people!
    • Perhaps this is how 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was able to so excellently impersonate Ron Jeremy. Google for more links but here is a teaser: http://www.gwilly.ca/357/ronjeremy.html
    • Imagine the effect on the porn industry.

      It will help prevent problems like this [smh.com.au] (Work safe).

      Not being a huge perveyor of porn, would whacking on a condom really destroy the effect?

  • Old news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ankit (70020) * on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:03PM (#9074295) Homepage Journal
    Henrik Wann Jensen also got a technical Oscar [slashdot.org] earlier this year. This work is actually quite old. See the original Siggraph 2001 paper here [ucsd.edu].
  • SO what??? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Playboy figured this one out ten years ago.

  • Duke Nukem (Score:2, Funny)

    by frankmu (68782)
    i won't buy games until it comes out on Duke Nukem
  • by fizban (58094) <fizban@umich.edu> on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:05PM (#9074317) Homepage
    Anyone's who's stuck a flashlight in their mouth could have told you that skin doesn't just reflect light...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:06PM (#9074325)
    Do you have any idea how many infants had to be skinned to get that shader just right?
  • by hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:06PM (#9074330) Journal
    "...Any chance this can be included in DOOM3? ..."

    What isn't going to be included in DOOM3?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:07PM (#9074338)
    Just in case anyone's wondering what that magical technique is: It's called subsurface scattering and simulates the light flow within materials, not just on the surface.
    • wrong (Score:5, Informative)

      by Creepy (93888) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:58PM (#9074973) Journal
      Subsurface scattering is quite old - I learned about it in my graphics classes, and I've been out of school since 1996... here's a 1993 paper [stanford.edu] on it.

      He points out on his web page "Photon mapping is quite good at simulating subsurface scattering, but it becomes costly for highly scattering materials such as milk and skin. For these materials it is better to use a diffusion approximation. The diffusion approximation is much faster than tracing individual photons, and it is simple enough that a BSSRDF can be formulated."

      Here's a BSSRDF [stanford.edu] from a google search.
  • SSS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Capt'n Hector (650760) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:09PM (#9074358)
    How is this any different than sub-surface scattering? I know there are a few lightwave plugins out there that can do this. Something I googled [neilblevins.com]
    • Re:SSS (Score:2, Informative)

      by Exos (241632)
      Actually, this technique uses sub-surface scattering to accurately model the light transport characteristics of human skin.

      Henrik has been a pioneer [ucsd.edu] in developing efficient techniques for representing BSSRDF (bidirectional sub-surface scattering distribution functions).

      This [stanford.edu] paper that he published in collaboration with other notable [stanford.edu] people at Stanford was among the first to describe methods of calculating the effects of sub-surface scattering.
  • Porn Economics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Game Genie (656324) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:09PM (#9074365)
    A couple of posts, as well as the original post allude to the potential use of this technology to the pornography industry. While I realize that it is a multibillion dollar industry, and could certainly afford to utilize high end CG, I wonder how the cost-benifit ratio would work out. After all, paying engineers is obviosly more costly than paying hores.

    -
  • Was I the only one who on reading the article title thought - great at last a chance to replace my pox marked old exterior?
  • by skermit (451840) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:10PM (#9074386) Homepage
    http://www.tomshardware.com/graphic/20040504/ati-x 800-04.html [tomshardware.com]

    It's gonna make everything look that much sweeter...
  • skin (Score:5, Funny)

    by blackmonday (607916) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:15PM (#9074450) Homepage
    I'm sorry but anyone who thinks Gollum has perfect skin needs a date with a jar of Oil of Olay.

  • by RedCard (302122) * on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:18PM (#9074483)

    Any chance this can be included in DOOM3?

    You're absolutely right - expectations of today's games are getting completely insane.

    Didja see the new lens-flare algorithms? They're 16% more realistic than anything ever seen before. (Requirements: Dual P4, 300 gigs available on HD, 2 gigs RAM, etc...)

    Whoop-de-doo. Good games don't need stuff like this, and that's something that I'm afraid the game industry is losing sight of. As games get more expensive and cost-intensive to produce, are we headed for another video game industry crash like in the early 80s? The answer, of course, is a definite maybe.
    • by ahem (174666) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:30PM (#9074624) Homepage Journal
      The most ridiculous part to me of lens-flare is that originally, it was to be avoided at all costs since it interfered with the suspension of disbelief (ie. it reminds the viewer that they're viewing something seen by a camera, not them), but somehow it got absorbed into the grammar of cinema as being cool. Videogames, not actually using a lens in the rendering process, were immune to the effect, but labored hard in efforts to reproduce it.
      • The most ridiculous part to me of lens-flare is that originally, it was to be avoided at all costs since it interfered with the suspension of disbelief (ie. it reminds the viewer that they're viewing something seen by a camera, not them), but somehow it got absorbed into the grammar of cinema as being cool. Videogames, not actually using a lens in the rendering process, were immune to the effect, but labored hard in efforts to reproduce it.

        I think either JMS or Ron Thornton is to blame for that one. IIRC

      • There are several different things all being lumped under the category of "lens flare": coronas around lights, artifacts from camera lenses, and the "bloom" effect that's just recently started to appear in games. Coronas and bloom can be seen through human eyes easily, the former in a foggy area and the latter on very bright lights. Also, I don't think the camera lens effect is just "cool", it's also used to mean "really bright", since monitors and TVs have a maximum brightness anyway and the effect is most
    • "Didja see the new lens-flare algorithms? They're 16% more realistic than anything ever seen before."

      If you see lens flares in "reality" you need to check your contacts.

    • Whoop-de-doo. Good games don't need stuff like this, and that's something that I'm afraid the game industry is losing sight of.

      Agreed.
      The only game I play online - Quake Mega Team Fortress (the original, not Q3). I have tried some others, but I keep going back to what I think is the best. No, the graphics aren't close to what newer games have, but what it does have is gameplay. There are so many cool maps that alter the purpose of the game (capture the flag, fragfest, multiple teams, retain the flag, m

    • Yeah, I've been saying this since the days of the original Amiga. There are good games out there, just look around. My strategy is to buy stuff that's a year or two old. That way I pay about 1/4th the price and can afford to get a stinker or two for every gem I find.

      As far as a video game industry crash... it'd probably do the industry a lot of good. Video games are all trying to become Hollywood blockbuster movies: big, dumb and bland.

  • by Abjifyicious (696433) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:21PM (#9074513)
    Is this something we can expect to see in OSS anytime soon, or is there some kind of patent/copyright restriction? I would be thrilled if this feature showed up in Yafray or Blender...
  • It's already here. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Greger47 (516305) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:22PM (#9074522)
    And perhaps more exciting is that several game companies are planning on using it for their next generation games. So John Carmack are you listening? Any chance this can be included in DOOM3?

    The technology is already available for games, check out the subsurface scattering demo from ATI: http://www.ati.com/developer/demos/rx800.html [ati.com]

  • by Wacky_Wookie (683151) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:23PM (#9074544) Homepage Journal
    ..as I will already know what Sex my robot is!

    Wow, the kiddies will be able to download Pre set Studio Max, or lightwave files with finnished wireframe movies and then all the have to do is hit RENDER. It's like the EasyBake oven for porn!

    Sign me up for the next distributed computing craze: pr0n@home!
  • Today, we're raising a generation of people who believe that everyone engages in Cialis-enhanced multi-partner sex just like they see on the Internet (don't you?!).

    Tomorrow, we'll be raising a generation of people who believe that all those seemingly real people on the Internet are flawless as well.

    How disappointed they will all be when they realize that the imperfection of humanity can't compare with the perfection of a digital world. Hopefully they'll also realize that it is those same imperfections

    • by sisukapalli1 (471175) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @02:12PM (#9075677)
      Come on... A lot of feelings of inadequacy are due to the traditional media brianwash and advertisement. If you are 5lb+, you are over weight, if you are 5lb-, you are underweight. If you are dark skinned, you need to "revitalize", it you are fair skinned, you need to "get deep texture". Even things like news (especially the war coverage) are very polished, glamorized and very unreal.

      Things have gone down the drain quite long ago before the "internet craze took off".

      I believe many people know the difference between real world and virtual world (internet, tv, movies, stories, etc.) Some that don't know the difference do not need any special technology to get a glossy image of the world -- existing technology does it already :)

      S
  • The problem is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by polyp2000 (444682) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:29PM (#9074608) Homepage Journal
    In real life people dont have perfect skin. Surely we are really after the look of imperfect skin.

    nick ...
  • Doom 3 will need realisitic blood and guts rendering as much as it needs realistic skin rendering.
  • Not all movies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by screwballicus (313964) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:33PM (#9074662)
    Not all movies are dependent solely on CG for their baddies and their special effects [freeserve.co.uk]. Physical models can still look goddamn remarkable.
    • Physical models can still look goddamn remarkable.

      Yeah, I find it interesting that the makers of the upcoming "Aliens vs. Predator" movie are emphasising how they used rubber outfits and animatronics to make all the creatures. They're using CG to make the aliens tail whip around but the rest they're trying to keep "real".

  • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:36PM (#9074703) Homepage Journal
    There have been cases of AIDS [google.com] in people who work in porn. If effective skin was developed for CG movies, this would make it a lot safer for people working in this billion-dollar business.
  • ([the technique] was used on Gollum in Lord of the Rings, and it will be used in the soon-to-be-released van Helsing movie)... Of course there are endless other opportunities for virtual humans with perfect skin :-)

    I don't think "perfect skin" means what you think it means. Unless you think Smeagol has a lovely complexion.

    By the way: ew.
  • Come on! Does anyone thing that face picture on the BBC web site actually looks realistic?
  • by cosmo7 (325616) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:39PM (#9074737) Homepage
    He also hopes that in the future it will be more widely used in architectural design and art restoration to make virtual buildings leap out of the computer screen.

    Writer: Did you read that computer graphics piece?
    Editor: Hrmph.
    Writer: Is it going in?
    Editor: Does it mention things leaping out of the computer screen?
    Writer: No, it's about a rendering technique.
    Editor: The style book says, and I quote, "All stories refering to 3D computer graphics must include the phrase 'leaping out of the screen'"
    Writer: I guess I could tack it on at the end. It really wouldn't make sense though.
    Editor: No one will notice.
  • Any chance? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Tokerat (150341) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @12:43PM (#9074797) Journal

    Any chance this can be included in DOOM3?
    Yes, in fact John Carmack approved the engine re-write this morning when he saw this Slashdot post! Due to the rewrite, Doom3 has been been pushed back and will be released simultaniously with 3D Realms' upcoming "Duke Nukem Forever".
  • Re: Game use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bogie (31020) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:20PM (#9075174) Journal
    I honestly don't really think I want to play games where you can't tell the characters from the ones in real life. I'm currently playing through Call of Duty again and if all of the soldiers I killed looked exactly like real people dying I don't think I could actually do it. There is something to be said for being able to experience things more realistically, but I just don't think it would be fun anymore. The reason why games don't lead to violence in real life imho is because its easy to clearly differentiate between life and a video game. Well what happens in 5 years when you literally cannot tell the difference between the two?
    As a gamer for over 20 years now I've always enjoyed seeing the graphics get better and better but I wonder if it will someday go too far and make games less enjoyable?
    • Thing is, as the graphics get better, so do our abilities to discern between them and real life. When I first saw the old man from the Final Fantasy movie I couldn't have told you it was fake; however, I could say the same thing about the first Tekken PS2 showcase. Now, both are easy for me to tell from real life.
    • Re: Game use (Score:3, Insightful)

      I disagree. If you can't tell the difference between a picture on a screen vs. someone in real life, then there's something wrong with you.

      Yours is the same argument the politians have used on the gaming/movie industry for the longest time. It's pure BS.
  • Perfect Skin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:41PM (#9075387) Journal
    It's funny how the phrase "perfect skin" means exact opposites depending on if you are talking about real human beings or digital virtual human beings.
    I mean on a real person "perfect skin" means no imperfections, on a digital person "perfect skin" means skin with blemishes and realistic imperfections.

    I dunno... just saying is all...

  • by foniksonik (573572) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @01:48PM (#9075445) Homepage Journal
    How many real people have perfect skin? When they can recreate the sallowness of an alcoholic, the dryness of someone with allergies in spring, the haggardness of someone who's been up all night... that will be realism, perfection is an illusion and people will see right through it in the end... we'll just be so impressed in the meanwhile that it will give the developers a few more years to get it right.

    Even surgery and bio-chemistry can't produce perfect skin for people... they still need makeup and air-brushing... when did that become realistic anyways?

  • by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @02:12PM (#9075686) Homepage Journal
    If you look at the still shot of the skin, it looks pretty good, compared to what we've had before. Here's what we're missing:
    • Internal skin structure. Now that you can cast light on skin correctly, you have to model the layers of the skin, the blood vessels, the fat, etc.
    • Skin motion. The models in Final Fantasy movie looked good in the still images, but they moved like robots. The skin did not fold and wrinkle naturally.
    • Natural motion. The figures also have to move well, too. The best effects are done with motion capture.
  • past perfect (Score:3, Informative)

    by moviepig.com (745183) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @02:20PM (#9075766) Homepage
    "Perfect skin", in this context, is equivalent to the Turing test for AI. I.e., can it fool a human who's inspecting under specified conditions? (The imperfect face pictured in the article demonstrates this nicely. Unfortunately, I didn't see disclosure of whether it was real or Memorex.)

    BTW, literally "perfect" skin would mostly resemble Campbell's Cream of Bean soup.

  • by crovira (10242) on Thursday May 06, 2004 @03:55PM (#9076750) Homepage
    because, at some point, somebody is going to make a 1st-person-shooter with absolutely realistic looking victims.

    How long until it goes from subdermal photon scattering to absolutely realistic effects (of gibs flying off a body in the process of becoming a corpse.)

    We'll be able to make shots from a bullet's point of view as it pierces and rends.

    Will this enure us to the real thing?

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