Researchers from Princeton University have devised a novel method for creating surfaces whose appearance changes based on the viewing direction. The surfaces are constructed from a mesh of bars arranged in a self-occluding colored heightfield that creates the desired view-dependent effects. This innovative approach opens up new possibilities in the field of 3D printing and digital fabrication.
The core of the method proposed in their paper is a unique and simple differentiable rendering algorithm. This algorithm is specifically designed to render colored 3D heightfields and enable efficient calculation of the gradient of appearance with respect to heights and colors. The algorithm forms the basis of a coarse-to-fine machine learning-based optimization process that adjusts the heights and colors of the strips to minimize the loss between the desired and real surface appearance from each viewpoint.
The process begins by converting the heightfields into meshes using Blender. The meshes are then sliced and sent to a polyjet printer for fabrication. The algorithm and the optimization process work together to create a surface that changes its appearance based on the viewer’s perspective. This is achieved by adjusting the heights and colors of the strips in the mesh, creating a self-occluding colored heightfield.
The authors of the paper have demonstrated both synthetic and real-world fabricated results with view-dependent appearance. This means that the method is not only theoretically sound but also practically applicable. The surfaces created using this method can have a wide range of applications, from art installations to product design, where a changing appearance based on the viewing angle can add a unique and dynamic element.
The surfaces created using this method successfully display different appearances based on the viewing direction, demonstrating the potential of this approach in digital fabrication.
The full paper, titled “Constructing Printable Surfaces with View-Dependent Appearance” presents a pioneering approach in the field of digital fabrication can be accessed here for those interested in a more in-depth understanding of the method and its applications.
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