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A Tribute to Opportunity and her Epic Journey, Flying Over Endeavour Crater
Nirgal
post Aug 27 2011, 04:21 PM
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Although this is still a work in progress, I would like to share with you a preview of a new project I'm working on:

Flying Over Endeavour Crater - A Tribute to Opportunity and her Epic Journey

(The video is best viewed in HD resolution (720p), fullscreen and volume turned up for the background music.

Click here for a (still experimental) excerpt as anaglyph (view in HD if possible)

Here is some background info for the technically interested:

The whole DEM consists of about 3 billions of triangles, modelling Endeavour's west rim at full HiRISE resolution of 25cm/pixel. Unlike the standard method (of draping hi-res 2D imagery over a lower-res 3D DEM), the new technique provides real 3D geometry down to the highest resolution level (i.e. 0.25 m/pixel for HiRISE). This results in a more realistic visualization because each single pixel contributes genuine 3D information - as you can see for example in the low sun images where each pixel is, in principle, capable of casting its own tiny shadow.

Rendering this kind of DEMs has been a real challange, though. At 0.25 m post spacing, the models are about 16 times larger than the already huge standard HiRISE DEMs at 1 m/pixel. So together with the mosaics of several full-res CTX frames ( that I'm merging the DEMs with for context ) this results in DEMs of several billions of triangles. Unfortunately this seems to be too much to render with conventional 3D programs such as 3ds-max that are usually limited to some dozens of millions of polygons, but can't readily handle several billions. This is why I decided to write a specialized gigapixel-ready terrain visualization software with a raytracing kernel for realistic soft shadows and global illumination.

As this is a rather time consuming work, it is not finished yet (still missing color support and the movie processing chain is still too slow for producing longer flyovers ... )

Hardware is another limiting factor (currently I'm running out of RAM on 24 GB blink.gif ... but the new gear (48 Gigs + 12 cores) is already on the christmas wishlist...

Nevertheless the first results look promising so I thougt I'd share some impressions with the UMSF community
smile.gif


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mhoward
post Aug 27 2011, 04:39 PM
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Astonishing!
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ugordan
post Aug 27 2011, 04:49 PM
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Spectacular!


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eoincampbell
post Aug 27 2011, 05:13 PM
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"Epic" indeed!


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Lucas
post Aug 27 2011, 05:13 PM
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Wow! That is truly awesome and inspiring!

I don't know if you're taking requests, but it would be really neat to see a model of Opportunity at some spot in her trek and do a "fly over".


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MoreInput
post Aug 27 2011, 09:35 PM
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Absolute fascinating and awesome, Nirgal!

Thanks for this views and still waiting for more of them!



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ustrax
post Aug 27 2011, 10:34 PM
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in good plain portuguese...f***-**!!! blink.gif


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Guest_Oersted_*
post Aug 27 2011, 10:50 PM
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Ah, I thought that would be c******! Ustrax... smile.gif - Anyway, I agree with the sentiment!

- Do you plan to make a version without vertical exaggeration, Nirgal?
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siravan
post Aug 27 2011, 11:18 PM
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Excellent job! Do you use a flat plane or a sphere (to represent Mars curvature) as the base?
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walfy
post Aug 28 2011, 03:59 AM
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Some of the best flyovers of Mars I've seen yet. Please keep this up.
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CosmicRocker
post Aug 28 2011, 04:01 AM
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Oh, wow! I am speechless.


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gregson
post Aug 28 2011, 09:42 AM
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Beautiful!!!
But i think the vertical scale is exeggerated -I see this on the sand dunes-end of the animation. It was made intentionally?
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Nirgal
post Aug 28 2011, 11:34 AM
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Thank you very much for the nice comments on my work. glad you like it !

As there were questions about the vertical scale of the model I would like to point out there is no intentional vertical exaggeration of the geometry as you can see in this image comparing a "ground truth" photograph taken by the rover as of Sol 2679 on the left hand with a simulated view of the 3D model from approximately the same position and viewing angle (the shadowed slope in the right image is due to a lower simulated sun angle)

Attached Image


It is true that in my renderings I always try to emphasize & accentuate the topography for reasons of viewing aesthetics, but this is largely due to my using very low sun illumination angles just by simulating late-evening conditions with long shadows (this is just the same as landscape photograpers here on earth would do in order to accentuate the shape of dunes and mountains) In addition to that I tend to use settings of my simulated camera and darkroom that result in contrast enhancement and lens-induced geometric distortions (again the same as landscape phoptographers would do here on earth as well :-)

That being said: although the large scale topography of the model is exactly registered to official MOLA and HRSC DEMs
there remains uncertainty in the small-scale variations of the surface model as with any single-image based 3D reconstruction method namely in the presence of albedo variations. Without albedo variations (i.e. fully dust- or ice- coverd areas) I found the mean reconstruction errors in my experiments to be less than ten precent compared to ground-truth DEMs but the error can be larger in presence of large albedo variations.
Fortunately, the single-image method complements nicely with stereo-based methods that are immune to albedo variations (but provide only a fraction of the resolution and have troubles in texture-less areas).

Although maximum scientific accuracy has never been the main goal of my work (that is intended for porposes of visualization and aesthetics only - in the sense of "Martian Landscape Photography" wink.gif I do plan to further improve the overall accuracy of my models in the future by incorporating more stereo-derived base DEMs. I'm especially looking forward to the official Endeavour HiRISE DTM that I think will be published in the near future and that I expect to provide a very accurate base-DEM for that area smile.gif
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tedstryk
post Aug 28 2011, 01:12 PM
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Simply amazing!


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Stu
post Aug 28 2011, 02:30 PM
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Stunning, just... stunning... ohmy.gif


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