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JVitale
06-12-2007, 02:26 AM
I am a Roman History buff and I've always wished to work on a project in which I get to recrete Roman life in CG. Well..this has alredy been done. Though, I'm not crazy abuot the over all look (kind of gamey)..It's still quite a feat...

what do you guys think of this effort?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19169594/site/newsweek/

hrgiger
06-12-2007, 07:36 AM
I think it's just a matter of time before you'll see most things, places, and people created digitally in one form or another.

newsvixen8
06-12-2007, 08:36 AM
Hopefully with better lighting.

MooseDog
06-12-2007, 10:50 AM
here's a direct link to some more (the businessweek link doesn't seem to work in my browser (ff).

http://www.romereborn.virginia.edu/

mho, impressive and thorough modelling, obviously a ton! of research went into this, and i enjoy seeing the results.

for $2million you'd think some thought would have gone into the renders :thumbsdow .

bluerider
06-12-2007, 02:32 PM
What software did they do to create the modeling content etc?

JVitale
06-12-2007, 11:05 PM
for $2million you'd think some thought would have gone into the renders :thumbsdow .


You'd think so....to me it doesn't look like stepping into Ancient Rome but a "Virtual" version of ancient Rome...but this version only covers 320AD and the empire lasted more than 2000 years so there's room for more versions of the Roman Empire

oDDity
06-14-2007, 01:59 AM
To me it's like stepping into the work of a bunch of noobs.
A team of people and $2 million?
Give me a few plans and I could have done it 10 times better than that by myself for 10,000. The statues are only vague shapes with photos of statues pasted on like some game engine from 1996 ffs.
Totally amateur effort from start to finish, they may as well not have bothered at all. I'd rather look at a school project depicting Rome as done by a class of 10 year olds that this.

korolev
06-14-2007, 02:30 AM
I agree with the other lightwavers that the overall quality is poor. Probably the guys must have a very efficient Public relations and media team. However you must take under consideration the complexity of the Roman architecture in general, with arches, columns, etc. All the architectural real-time simulations they use bilboards, something very convinient for the western-european architecture of 18th century, or for Mayan or Ancient Egypt buildings. I remember that i saw in siggraph 98 a VRML representsation of Grand Place of Brussels in a very high quality, (because of the textures) and not because of the geometry.
Lets hope that in some years the quality of efforts like this will be much more better.
Korolev

hrgiger
06-14-2007, 03:43 AM
Give me a few plans and I could have done it 10 times better than that by myself for 10,000.


Completely Doubtful. In about what, another 10 years? You would build the entire city of Rome with infinately more detail for 10 grand? So you're charging $1.00 a buidling (since there are 10,000 buildings in this one). I think you're severely underestimating the time involved in such a project.
Either way, I'm sure that the amount of computational overhead involved in this project, as weak as the rederings and detail level were, were a factor.

MooseDog
06-14-2007, 03:54 AM
........I'm sure that the amount of computational overhead involved in this project, as weak as the rederings and detail level were, were a factor.

:agree: i'm sure it was a major effort to get this out the door, and congrats to the professors who finally did so, but...

with $2mil, free student labor, and a university-wide i.t. infrastructure, why is the final render as oddity describes? how many student-licenses of lightwave could that money have bought?

seems to me that money went into papers, seminars and presentations and per diems for the professors of the humanities department, not the final project.

hrgiger
06-14-2007, 04:06 AM
Well, if you read the article, they mention that this is only the beginning and they hope for future scholars to build in more detail. To me, you watch movies and then you see this and think they could have done a better job, but you have to keep in mind that movies that are so impressive today are made with a combination of Matte painting, compositing, etc... and with a lot more people and a LOT more money then what was involved here. This is a 3D representation of the entire city of Rome. I think it's pretty impressive despite its current shortcomings in detail and rendering output.

MooseDog
06-14-2007, 07:24 AM
Well, if you read the article, they mention that this is only the beginning and they hope for future scholars to build in more detail. To me, you watch movies and then you see this and think they could have done a better job, but you have to keep in mind that movies that are so impressive today are made with a combination of Matte painting, compositing, etc... and with a lot more people and a LOT more money then what was involved here. This is a 3D representation of the entire city of Rome. I think it's pretty impressive despite its current shortcomings in detail and rendering output.

:agree: overall and reflects what seem to me to be very noble goals for the project. to wit: expanding learning about and knowledge of what was, in effect, a very very modern city (only 3,000 years ago!)

as i was driving the kids to school this morning tho (and i had showed this to the also), i was thinking about this p.r. piece that Wired News Printed on Behalf of the Project Director (http://www.wired.com/culture/art/news/2007/06/rome_reborn#), including the professorially condescending remark about the gaming industry.

strikes me that the good doctor's noble aims ran head-first into zero knowledge of producing something of any quality through this medium. the modeling was done by scanning This (http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/imperialfora/model.html) and then trying to light, texture and render with lightscape. yes, lightscape..only what 15 years old? seriously, how much does a student license of lightwave 9.2 cost? $300? how much were the good doctor's summer trips to rome? :)

the good doctor has as well noble aims for the future of the project. good on 'im:thumbsup: improving the quality of any images or renders is not one of his stated aims though:cursin:

strikes me that all this effort, money and good intentions is flushed with this sort of public presentation. interesting discussion tho, thx.

Iain
06-15-2007, 02:21 AM
I closed the first one down halfway through.
I know we're saturated with high quality visuals but it has to mean something that it couldn't even hold my interest for 20 seconds.

hrgiger
06-15-2007, 02:39 AM
I closed the first one down halfway through.
I know we're saturated with high quality visuals but it has to mean something that it couldn't even hold my interest for 20 seconds.

Perhaps you're not interested in Rome?
Because if it were say a CG football stadium, I don't care how high quality it was, it wouldn't hold my interest for more then 20 secons either. But then, sports bore me.
I'm not trying to necessarily defend the work behind this project, I'm just saying that I don't think the idea behind it was to blow you away visually, but rather to recreate a place in history for study.

oDDity
06-15-2007, 03:02 AM
Recreate it? It's just a bunch of empty buildings. I don't know what you could learn from it. It's a long way from, say, the holodeck in TNG. Now they really knew how to recreate an historical place and time.

Lightwolf
06-15-2007, 03:08 AM
Recreate it? It's just a bunch of empty buildings. I don't know what you could learn from it. It's a long way from, say, the holodeck in TNG.
Now just imagine... before this, all people had were just some 2D maps. I mean, how useless is that?

Cheers,
Mike

oDDity
06-15-2007, 03:08 AM
Completely Doubtful. In about what, another 10 years? You would build the entire city of Rome with infinately more detail for 10 grand? So you're charging $1.00 a buidling (since there are 10,000 buildings in this one). I think you're severely underestimating the time involved in such a project.


Yes, but you know as well as I do that a lot of those are clones, or cloned pieces of pillars etc put together like a jigsaw to make each building..
Anyway, making these roman style buildings at this 90's game engine level of detail is very easy. I admit I'd never make it to the end through sheer boredom alone, but it would be technically possible.

hrgiger
06-15-2007, 03:56 AM
Yes, but you know as well as I do that a lot of those are clones, or cloned pieces of pillars etc put together like a jigsaw to make each building..
Anyway, making these roman style buildings at this 90's game engine level of detail is very easy. I admit I'd never make it to the end through sheer boredom alone, but it would be technically possible.

Just about everything CG is technically possible. But nobody would be foolhardy enough to accept such a project for 10 grand, at least I hope not for their sake. And yes, I'm sure they reused parts of the objects in other objects, but they still had to lay everything out in scale and consider each building they constructed. I see it as a pretty impressive foundation to build on in the future.

Sarford
06-15-2007, 04:43 AM
Lets not forget that these people don't work in a production enviroment, this is science (at least in their eyes) so they take all the time they want. I can't say I'm impressed with this when they got 10 years to work on it, that is a mighty long time mind you.
I also think they didn't make it look nice on purpose because if it looks good, for scientists this means this project propably is worthless. Its an unwritten law in science that things have to look bad otherwise people might think its not serious.

Iain
06-15-2007, 04:59 AM
You just can't help but compare it to the BBC's Rome or Egypt as recreated by The Mill.

I am interested in both periods of history but if recreations of them look naff (and sorry but this one does,) what's the point?
It wouldn't take long to improve the overall lighting or texturing but as Sarford said, that would probably render it superficial in the eyes of historians.

Lightwolf
06-15-2007, 05:03 AM
You just can't help but compare it to the BBC's Rome or Egypt as recreated by The Mill.

Hm, how many of these are interactive then?
I mean, we are talking about scientific visualisation vs. eye candy for the unwashed masses. That's like slagging a GANTT chart for not being colourful enough ;)

Cheers,
Mike

Iain
06-15-2007, 05:07 AM
Why should only the unwashed masses get things that look good?

Lightwolf
06-15-2007, 05:13 AM
Why should only the unwashed masses get things that look good?
Easy, because they are superficial (I'm sure Oddity would agree here ;) ).

Seriously though, I bet that having it "look good" wasn't very high on their list of priorities... so why bother? They likely had a lot of other issues to worry about first.

And again, this is a realtime app by the looks of it...

Cheers,
Mike

shrox
06-15-2007, 08:42 AM
Having been art director on a medical simulation funded by the U.S. military, I can say that a "that's good enough" mentality prevails many government and university funded projects. Department heads and government officials are often impressed by stuff that I would concider to be sub-par.

Lightwolf
06-15-2007, 08:54 AM
Having been art director on a medical simulation funded by the U.S. military, I can say that a "that's good enough" mentality prevails many government and university funded projects.
Looking at it the other way around... how many of us render cars that are true to the real thing and could be used to actually manufacture a car?
I've had discussions with physicists about how to visualize certain things (i.e. light: wavelets or particles?) to find the proper balance between "nice" and "correct". But it takes effort on both sides.

Cheers,
Mike

Andyjaggy
06-15-2007, 01:56 PM
I'm kind of with Oddity on this one.

Interestingly enough I am currently working on a similar project except I am building ancient Jerusalem. I am the only modeler on the project and although it won't be on that big of a scale it is still pretty freaking huge and allready looks way better. (in my opinion, although that is probably a little skewed)

The project is challenging but not necassarily because the modeling is that difficult it's just a lot of it. Some of the buildinga are a little tricky but for the most part it's just lots and lots of cloning and rebuilding the cloned pieces into different buildings. Trying to keep the polycount as low as posssible, figuring out how the city was laid out and what key building we need to include, and dealing with the sometimes tedious nature of the project.

I'm not saying that the Rome project isn't impressive with it's sheer scale but the quality of it seems lacking for 2 million dollars.

Titus
06-15-2007, 08:10 PM
Having been art director on a medical simulation funded by the U.S. military, I can say that a "that's good enough" mentality prevails many government and university funded projects. Department heads and government officials are often impressed by stuff that I would concider to be sub-par.

I'm a retired scientist and worked some time in a visualization lab. Scientists doesn't look things with the eyes of an artist, don't spect they produce something the same way anyone in this forum could do it. I also doesn't expect a scientist understand how an artist perceives his world.

In my POV they accomplished their goal, to recreate ancient Rome in a real time animation. Projects more humble than this have been presented at SIGGRAPH, so for a part of the industry should be ok.

sean hargreaves
06-15-2007, 08:29 PM
Guys, don't listen to oDdity, hes just annoyed because if you look at the credits, his name is there!

oDDity
06-16-2007, 01:51 PM
If it took 10 years to make, then that explains it.
They're probably still using the software and computer equipment they started with 10 years ago.
You try rendering that on a windows 95 133mhz machine with 32 RAM, and see how quick you are to add GI.