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Cool Advances in CG Motion Blur

Here are some intriguing animation examples from a paper delivered at SIGGRAPH 2010 about “Programmable Motion Effects.” The researchers were Johannes Schmid, Robert Sumner, Huw Bowles and Markus Gross. They experimented with different ways of adding motion lines as an alternative to traditional CGI motion blurring. Here is the paper abstract for those of you who speak CG:

Although animation is one of the most compelling aspects of computer graphics, the possibilities for depicting the movement that make dynamic scenes so exciting remain limited for both still images and animations. In our work, we experiment with motion depiction as a first-class entity within the rendering process. We extend the concept of a surface shader, which is evaluated on an infinitesimal portion of an object’s surface at one instant in time, to that of a programmable motion effect, which is evaluated with global knowledge about all portions of an object’s surface that pass in front of a pixel during an arbitrary long sequence of time. With this added information, our programmable motion effects can decide to color pixels long after (or long before) an object has passed in front of them. In order to compute the input required by the motion effects, we propose a 4D data structure that aggregates an object’s movement into a single geometric representation by sampling an object’s position at different time instances and connecting corresponding edges in two adjacent samples with a bilinear patch. We present example motion effects for various styles of speed lines, multiple stroboscopic images, temporal offsetting, and photorealistic and stylized blurring on both simple and production examples.

As sophisticated as computer technology is nowadays, it amazes me that we have trouble figuring out how to recreate effects that animators achieved effortlessly seventy years ago. In terms of graphic sophistication and artistry, computer animation has always struck me as being one step forward, two steps back…

Motion Blur