Seasons Greetings and May the Force be with You!

What happens when Christmas, a new Star Wars movie and an easy to use animation system like Project Draco all happen at the same time?

If you would like to try your hand at some fun animations, check out the technical preview of Project Draco available for iPad users. 

Autodesk Research at SIGGRAPH 2015

If you're attending SIGGRAPH 2015 in Los Angeles, watch out for these presentations from members of Autodesk Research and say hi to the presenters!:

Kitty: Sketching Dynamic and Interactive Illustrations

Monday, 10 August 3:45 pm - 5:15 pm, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 402AB

Rubaiat Habib, Fanny Chevalier, Tovi Grossman and George Fitzmaurice

Kitty will be part of the UIST Reprise and you can read more about Kitty in this blog post.

Printing Elastics

Thursday, 13 August 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 150/151

Session Chair: Nobuyuki Umetani

Convolutional Wasserstein Distances: Efficient Optimal Transportation on Geometric Domains

Tuesday, 11 August 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 152

Justin Solomon, Fernando de Goes, Gabriel Peyré, Marco Cuturi, Adrian Butscher, Andy Nguyen, Tao Du, Leonidas Guibas

This paper introduces a new class of algorithms for optimization problems involving optimal transportation over geometric domains. The main contribution is to show that optimal transportation can be made tractable over large graphics domains, such as images and triangle meshes, improving performance by orders of magnitude compared to previous work.

OmniAD: Data-Driven Omni-Directional Aerodynamics

Wednesday, 12 August 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 153A-C

Tobias Martin, Nobuyuki Umetani, Bernd Bickel

Introducing OmniAD, a novel data-driven pipeline to model and acquire the aerodynamics of three-dimensional rigid objects simply by capturing their falling motion using a single camera. OmniAD enables realistic real-time simulation of rigid bodies and interactively designed three-dimensional kites that actually fly.

Computational Tools for 3D Printing

Thursday, 13 August 2:00 pm - 5:15 pm, Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 403AB

Nobuyuki Umetani, Bernd Bickel, Wojciech Matusik

This course reviews current 3D printing hardware and software pipelines, and analyzes their potential and shortcomings. Then it focuses on computational specification for fabrication methods, which allow designing or computing an object's shape and material composition from a functional description.

3D-Printed Prosthetics for the Developing World

Thursday, 13 August, 9-10:30 am,SIGGRAPH Studio

Ryan Schmidt, Ginger Coons, Vincent Chen, Timotheus Gmeiner, Matt Ratto

You can read more about this project here.

Autodesk Exhibitor Sessions

Members of your favourite Autodesk product teams will be showing off cool, new things throughout the week.

The Art of Fluid Animation

And you may see Jos Stam wearing a shirt like this - ask him about it :)

Autodesk Research The Art of Fluid Animation


A Thesis on Design in Comic Book Form

Have you ever read a Ph.D. thesis in the form of a comic book? Now you can thanks to the creative mind of Rubaiat Habib. Rubaiat created the interactive illustration and animation tools Draco and Kitty with his colleagues from the Autodesk Research UI Group. In his thesis, Rubaiat discusses Designing New Digital Art Media through the non-traditional format of a comic book.

In this comic, Rubaiat gets into his motivation and process for creating such tools and offers inspiration for all researchers, UX designers and software developers. Beyond that, it's a great read and you can have a taste of it below!





Rub_4 Rub_5

Teaching the Computer How to Draw

Simon Breslav from the Environments and Ergonomics team likes to draw and did some work with his colleagues at the University of Toronto on teaching the computer how to draw. The computer can study the line styles on a drawing and apply it to a new 3D model creating a hand drawn look similar to the artists original creation. This can be useful for both replication and restoration of historic works as well as new applications such as animated cartoons. 

Teaching the computer to draw Autodesk Research

The group had artists hand shade 3D models of different objects and taught the computer to analyse what the artists had done. From the drawing they pulled out the following information:

  • Hatching level: whether a region contains no hatching, single hatching, or cross-hatching.
  • Orientation: the stroke direction in image space
  • Cross-hatching orientation: the cross-hatch direction when present
  • Thickness: the stroke width
  • Intensity: how light or dark the stroke is
  • Spacing: the distance between parallel strokes
  • Length: the length of the stroke

These factors can be visualized:

Analyzing Drawings Autodesk Research


And then synthesized - both making for interesting drawings themselves:

Autodesk Research Drawing Synthesis

 The results of the learning and application are pretty impressive as you can see below:

Autodesk Research Teaching the computer how to draw

This work is the first of its kind in learning the complexities and intricacies in the human artistic process. Future studies may include stroke textures, stroke tapering and randomness in strokes (such as wavy or jittered lines).

Draco at the Animation Design Night

Autodesk hosts a public Design Night at the Gallery in San Francisco to celebrate all the cool aspects of design. The most recent night was all about animation with a talk by Patrick Osborne, Director of Feast, at Walt Disney Animation Studios. And we got to show off Draco and the work we've been doing with integrating photos.

There are always cool exhibits to see at the Gallery and we were able to make the giant Lego dinosaur a little more alive.


Design Night has themed making activities and we saw some really cool thaumatropes.


Design Night, as a celebration of design, is more fun with a DJ.


And of course, if you're lucky, you can get your picture taken with a celebrity. 


Easy Animation for Storyboarding with Draco

The Maya team has a short animation in the works called Hyperspace Madness and we asked Matthew Chan, one of the project artists, to try Draco, our tool for sketch based animation and effects, to see what he thought of it for storyboarding and animatics. Hyperspace Madness started as a project to demonstrate games workflows. As that was successful, the team decided to make a short intro movie for the game to demonstrate film workflows.

Autodesk Hyperspace Madness

Normally a storyboard is created and used to sequence the shots in a film. When that is done, the storyboard is put into a short film with some basic sound to get a feel for the pacing. You can see the Hyperspace Madness animatic below.

In the first few seconds of the animatic you can see the hero moving through the scene with lasers and explosions behind him. Each of these images needs to be drawn one at a time. Where Draco was found to be really helpful was that fewer drawings needed to be created and was was created was a more accurate representation of the story intention as you can see in a few drawings below.


Beyond saving the artist time and helping to tell the story, this resulted in less data to manage. Matthew said the Draco was intuitive and uncomplicated and he really liked the gesture based options for easily moving the different picture elements.

We're still working on Draco and will keep you updated on the progress. In case you missed the picture from Autodesk University, here it is again.

Autodesk Research Draco Autodesk University

Pictures from Autodesk University 2014

Here are a couple pictures of things the Autodesk Research team is talking about at Autodesk University. There's one more chance to come by the booth and find out more today.

Autodesk Research at Autodesk University

Autodesk Research Bicycle Frame Autodesk University

Autodesk Research Draco Autodesk University

Autodesk Research Cyborg Autodesk University


Autodesk Research Motorcycle Swingarm Autodesk University

Hy-Fi by The Living at Autodesk University

Here's where you can find us on the Autodesk University Exhibit Floor. We'll be there from 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Autodesk Research at Autodesk University

Also spotted in the Registration Hall:

Autodesk Research Autodesk University

For those not at Autodesk University, feel free to hit us up with some questions here!

Research at Autodesk University 2014

Autodesk Research will be at Autodesk University 2014 and the theme this year is the Future of How Things are Made.


The Research team will be displaying some of their work and views on the future in the Exhibit Hall and you are cordially invited to come by, have a look, be inspired and share your feedback.

Autodesk Research at Autodesk University 2014

In the Exhibit Hall, you'll find people and displays for the following projects:

  • Cyborg
  • Draco and Kitty
  • Dreamcatcher
  • Hy-Fi


Autodesk is researching how design tools can be applied to synthetic biology, problems like fighting diseases, such as cancer, and improving drug discovery. 

Draco and Kitty

Answering the challenge to make animation (Draco) and authoring interactive content (Kitty) as easy as drawing, you not only see this in action but try out it out for yourself.


Showing that computers can help you design - not just produce design documentation - structurally sound and interesting pieces based on your specified goals.  


If you missed Hy-Fi on display at New York's MoMA, you can get a little taste of it at AU. Haven't heard of Hy-Fi or its creators The Living? Check out this video showing Hy-Fi and some of what The Living are doing. 

The Autodesk University Exhibit Hall will be open at the following times:

  • Tuesday, December 2: 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. for the Community Reception
  • Wednesday, December 3: 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 3:  6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. for the AUGI Reception
  • Thursday, December 4: 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Beyond the Exhibit Hall, there will be a number of presentations from Research team members:

Design Computation Symposium (AB7537)

The Design Computation Symposium will explore how advanced firms are bridging the gap between Computational Design and Building Information Modeling. Speaker topics will include both pragmatic aspects of digital design in daily practice, and forward thinking ideas and research. There are three main areas of interest under this theme:

  • Performance-based design, simulation and analysis.
  • Digital fabrication and construction processes.
  • Data Flow between real and digital environments.

The Future of Design: 3 Case Studies (LF8217)

Three experts from the Office of the CTO will talk about some unbelievable developments in the fields of synthetic biology, advanced MFG design, and infinite computing.

Capitalize on Fusion 360 for Digital Fabrication Workflows in Revit  (AB6016-L)

Would you like to get your designs out of the screen and into your hands? While 3D printing has become an exceedingly useful tool for demonstrating and prototyping design ideas, preparing files for 3D printing can be frustrating and time consuming. In this 90-minute course we will generate a complex surface in the Fusion 360 3D CAD design app that takes advantage of the T-Splines modeling technology. We will bring this model into Revit software where it will serve as the base for a panelized solid form using the Dynamo visual programming language extension. Once we have generated the complex parametric model to the required specifications, we will export the model to a STL file for 3D printing. A 2-step process of healing the mesh for optimal printing is described with the meshmixer tool and Project Miller. Finally, we will inspect the mesh and prepare it for output to various 3D printing platforms.


Four Cool Talks from Autodesk Research at UIST 2014

The ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) is just around the corner. This year Autodesk Research is a platinum sponsor and has four cool papers to present covering a diverse range of topics from 3D printing interactive objects to a new text entry method for smart watches to big data analytics with baseball and a new paradigm for drawing interactive content.


A Series of Tubes: Adding Interactivity to 3D Prints Using Internal Pipes 
Valkyrie Savage, Ryan Schmidt, Tovi Grossman, George Fitzmaurice, Bjoern Hartmann
10:30am Monday, October 6
Autodesk Research Pipedream
PipeDream can help makers create interactive 3D prints.
Kitty: Sketching Dynamic and Interactive Illustrations 
Rubaiat Habib Kazi, Fanny Chevalier, Tovi Grossman, George Fitzmaurice
12:30pm Tuesday, October 7
Kitty builds on the Kinetic Texturing work seen previously in Draco and allows the author to make it interactive.
Swipeboard: A Text Entry Technique for Ultra-Small Interfaces That Supports Novice to Expert Transitions 
Xiang 'Anthony' Chen, Tovi Grossman, George Fitzmaurice
11:00 Wednesday, October 8
Swipeboard takes inspiration from Morse code to present a new and fast method of gestural input for smart watches.
Video Lens: Rapid Playback and Exploration of Large Video Collections and Associated Metadata 
Justin Matejka, Tovi Grossman, George Fitzmaurice
11:00am Wednesday, October 8

Autodesk Research Baseball Video Lens

Video Lens is a great tool for exploring massive amounts of data and is built around baseball videos to show a practical application. 
Demos of all of these will be available on Monday night so stop by and say hello to the team!