Hardware Archive

Microsoft HoloDesk

While browsing around, one youtube video posted on “Microsoft research” channel got my attention.

It features a very interesting device that enables the user to directly interact with 3d graphic elements. Although I have the feeling that Microsoft will target the entertainment market with this system, I would love to see it being used with sculpting 3d software like Zbrush and Mudbox or even with more complex software like 3d max.

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3ds max 2009 keeps crashing? Here is the solution:

For some time I’ve been experiencing a lot of problems with 3ds max design 2009; 8 out of 10 times when I was panning or zooming, max was crashing and I was losing more time waiting for it to restart than I was spending on the actual work.

The first thing that crossed my mind was that it might have been a hardware problem; either the ram memory or the video card. However, it couldn’t have been a hardware malfunction since I had the same problem with all the 5 workstations (identical configurations) in our office. I have updated the drivers with the latest versions, but nothing seemed to solve the problem.

Today when I was talking to a friend of mine this subject came up and he told me that he had been having the same problem, but unlike me he managed to solve it. Apparently it all had to do with the “view cube” and after disabling it, max doesn’t crash every 15 seconds.
I checked this out first thing when I got back to the office, and to my surprise, it did the trick.

Therefore if you are using 3ds max 2009 and the software crashes when zooming or panning in the viewports, than the solution to your problem is to disable the viewcube.
You can do this by renaming the file called “AutoCamMax.gup” located in “program files, autodesk, 3ds max 2009, stdplugs”. (You can delete it as well, but just in case for some reason you decide you want this back, renaming it is the way to go).

LCD monitor for 3D rendering

Have you wondered why an image looks different from one monitor to another? In the past, when everybody was using crt monitors this was not
such a big issue (since in most cases the differences were minor), but in the lcd era, if you are a pro graphic designer or an illustrator, you need to make sure that what you see on the monitor will match the print that your client will use in his campaign.
Therefore, the most important factor when working in 3d graphics (and computer graphics in general, as a matter of fact) is color reproduction.

A little bit of tech stuff
The most important part of a monitor is the panel. It is the first thing that you should be interested in when buying an lcd monitor.

TN panels

-these have the main advantage of being cheap. Furthermore, the response time is faster, compare to the other types. These makes them perfect for gamers and for people that just use the computer to surf the net or use only office applications.
However, the downside is that they color reproduction is unacceptable for visualization artists and graphic designers. Due to the fact that they are only 6 bit panels, they can not reproduce 16.7 million colors. Some of these can “fake” them using dithering, but the result looks desaturated and it lacks contrast.
Another disadvantage is that the viewing angles are the worst of all types of panles.

In conclusion, if intend to use a lcd for computer graphics, stay away from TN panels.

S-IPS
S-IPS panels are the best when it comes to color reproduction accuracy and viewing angles, which makes them the best solution for people that earn a living by working with images. The response time is not as good as the TN panels, but still acceptable.
The price may be a little prohibitive for some, though.

S-PVA
These are somewhere in the middle of the other two, but closer to the S-IPS from a designer’s point of view. Color reproduction accuracy and viewing angles are quite close to the previous ones and the contrast ratio is even higher.
The price range is also somewhere between the other two.

As a conclusion, when you buy a lcd monitor think about the panel first and don’t look  just at the size and the price.
If budget is not a problem I would go for an S-IPS panel. Personally I own NEC MultiSync 20WGX monitors and I am quite happy with them.
Another good choice would be Dell2007Wfp (with a samsung S-pva panel or an Lg S-ips panel)

Processor Benchmark

Here is something that should have been posted along “How to chose a workstation” article, that I have published on this blog, It is a very comprehensive processor benchmark that will help a lot of people making a good decision when acquiring a CPU for a workstation (remember that the CPU is the most important factor that impacts the rendering speed). Continue reading