Geo Week News

August 11, 2009

Alice Labs Debuts Point Cloud Editor for 3ds Max and Maya Products

Alice Labs Debuts Point Cloud Editor - Image 1

Later this week, Alice Labs will issue the beta version of Studio Clouds Editor for its well-received products, Studio Clouds for 3ds Max and Studio Clouds for Maya. I caught up with company co-owner Elmer Bol earlier this week to get some details on the module as well as an update on the company, which we first reported on in February.  

Bol says the new product’s editing tools include layering up to 256 layers, dynamic segmentation, color editing and rendering (shadowing and lighting), and texture mapping of RGB data to point cloud data sets. Texture mapping for the editor includes the ability to map panoramic photographs such as those captured by Spheron and Panoscan as well as uncalibrated images captured with conventional digital cameras. Studio Clouds Editor is said to be capable of coloring full-size (e.g., 160 million points) panoramic images in two to three minutes. Bol says the editor was designed to deliver point cloud functionality to users with expectations for editing tools found in applications such as Photoshop, such as cut, paste and color. Support for 64-bit multicore hardware provides the processing muscle to manage billions of points. Point cloud registration capability is not included, yet. We understand the company is developing this functionality. Bol says a development version supporting the Mac operating system is in process with an expected release of the port next month.

On the business side, according to Bol, demand for its Studio Clouds for 3ds Max product launched August 1 is robust–much greater than for its Studio Clouds for Maya product which officially launched May 1. Studio Clouds for Maya and Studio Clouds for 3ds Max cost $2,450 (1,800 euros). The company has doubled in size to six employees in the last six months, bringing with them ties to Leuven University in Belgium and Delft University in the Netherlands, two well-regarded institutions of engineering software technology education and research. The company has been able to resist outside investment to date and is charging through the headwinds of our straitened economy. The company has a few distributors, including Point Cloud 3D and Simulistic LLC in the United States, and is looking and talking to other potential partners in other geographies. I asked Bol if he’d been getting any special interest or support from Autodesk, who develop Maya and 3ds Max. Not so far, he says.

Studio Clouds for 3ds Max has found takers in industries as diverse as forensic investigation, game production, industrial plant and architecture. Bol says that although he expected more demand from the movie industry, he has been pleasantly surprised by uptake among law enforcement and security planning users. 

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