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ZoeMatrope: A System for Physical Material Design


In product design and internet shopping, a realistic presentation of material is essential to confirming the color and gloss. However, conventional displays not only have limitations including resolution, dynamic range but also do not respond to viewing and lighting directions of the real world and can not represent realistic materials. In this research, we introduce a material display called ZoeMatrope to address the problems. ZoeMatrope utilizes human visual characteristics and real objects, and the quality of the material expressed with ZoeMatrope looks equivalent to that of real objects to the human eye.

1. Realistic material representation

The developed display uses compositing and animation principles used in a zoetrope and a thaumatrope. The system rotates a turntable which accommodates a number of base objects at high speed and illuminates some of those bases by a strobe light synchronized with the rotation. As a result, the system can express a composited material which is composed of plural base materials. Additionally, by controlling the emission time in units of 1us at high speed, the system can change the ratio of the composition and enables material animation. Since the overlaid image of the real objects will be seen by the human eye, outstanding resolution, dynamic range and light field fidelity can be achieved. By using a high-speed projector, "DynaFlash", the system can express spatially-varying materials.

2. Base material optimization

In order to represent a variety of realistic materials, we need to select the optimal base materials and determine the optimal composition ratios of them. In this paper, we formulated an error between the target and composited material, and solved these issues as a mixed integer linear programming problem. This method can be applied to bases for various parameters of a material and enables realistic representations of wide range of materials with a small number of base materials.

3. Augmented material

The system can express not only ordinary materials but also augmented materials that would never occur in reality. For example, translucent materials with an alpha channel and materials whose appearance depends on the light source can be expressed. The system can deal with these augmented materials as well as ordinary materials and allow the creation of new forms of expression media and immersive experiences in art, advertising and AR/VR.


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  1. L. Miyashita, K. Ishihara, Y. Watanabe and M. Ishikawa : ZoeMatrope: A System for Physical Material Design, ACM Transactions on Graphics, Vol.35, No.4, 66:1-66:11 (2016)
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