Class challenge: post a link to your favorite computer generated images here!
Maybe it's not that cool. But I made the inner carving myself to make the dinosaur stand. The image is generated by RenderAnts
I was inspired to get into graphics programming by watching real time graphics demos of the kind seen here: http://www.pouet.net This community continues to do a great job of pushing the boundaries on computer graphics as an expressive art form: all their algorithms are custom-built from the ground up, which means things inevitably end up looking a lot different (and a lot less homogenized) than what you get out of big commercial software packages. Really reminds you how many strange and beautiful possibilities there are once you hook up visual expression to computation...
Also fascinating are the small demo competitions: what's the coolest-looking movie you can make with an executable no larger than 4 kilobytes? Here's one incredible example: Elevated One might say that this competition is an exercise in Kolmogorov complexity!
@kmcrane I have also been inspired by the demoscene!
There have been times in my life where I have been fascinated by 3D fratals:
@Bryce Very cool. A long time ago I wrote some GPU code to draw 3D Julia sets, which (oddly enough) was subsequently used as a benchmark for graphics hardware—the interesting thing about these shapes is that they have an extremely simple mathematical description, despite having very complex geometry. So, they provide an interesting test for raw floating point power (no bandwidth required).
@kmcrane 4 years ago, I rendered my first pictures of a mandelbulb. My desire to render the mathematical object also gave me the necessary motivation for me to write my first distance estimation based ray marcher.
@kmcrane I believe that the notion of "complex geometry" is similar to the concept of arithmetic intensity that is discussed in 481, where one wants to maximize the ratio of useful mathematical work to supplementary logistical work, such as copying data around, increasing loop iterators, etc.
Whoa... creepy! Kayvon mentioned in class that the human brain is "really messed up"—one example is the gross-out response (called "trypophobia") people have to geometry with lots of small holes or bumps. If you're feeling really brave, check out this gallery of trypophobic images.
Bizarre graphics/geometry challenge: can your algorithmically detect (or synthesize!) geometry that has a trypophobic effect? (Say, to present a warning message to folks with serious trypophobia.) How would you determine that a surface has these kinds of features? In a couple weeks we'll be talking about surfaces and their curvatures, which help answer this kind of question.
@kmcrane Yeah! I know what you mean, back in the day, I was fascinated by trypophobic, but I would sometimes have bad dreams about scary geometry!
Has anybody else ever had nightmares about geometry?