LivePlace Video Controversy And Photorealism

These days there were rumors that said that a new photorealistic virtual worlds platform was coming. This has generated a double controversy: whether virtual worlds do need to be realist, and how much the intellectual rights of content developers are respected. The reason: the promotional video of this product.

Copyright Violation?

TechCrunch posted a video that was shown as promotional video of LivePlace, and was retired from their website for some reason.

You can see that portions of this video come from a 3D artist portfolio located here. It is not clear why they retired the video, and it is not clear if this artist works for LivePlace or not, or if he/she allowed them to do this or not.

The comment at TechCrunch, that revealed this, says that this video portions were "stolen".

Each day, we find more examples of the lack of respect for 3D artists and developers that big companies show.

Seems that not only unscrupulous individuals, but also businesses and big companies have loss all kinds of respect for the creators of content, and they just grab and run with it.

This is becoming a real problem. Some people, feeling shielded by their wealth or a false idea of anonymity for being hidden behind great trademarks, think they can abuse less known content developers.

We all must collaborate against this, as content is being devaluated endlessly. Many people look to content like a free-for-all box of trash.

Many people place their content in Internet only under certain conditions, and these conditions must be respected.

Companies have also to learn that if they employ these content developers, instead of stealing them, they'll grow over a stable foundation. If they don't, they will just harvest their own ruin, as they're killing the way of life of many of these creators. And because each day there will be less people willing to share anything.

Having said this, there's a big number of companies that defend the rights of content developers and artists, and no host or domain provider tolerates copyright infringement.

Photorealistic Worlds?

LivePlace says to have a photorealistic virtual worlds engine, that will equal the quality seen in 3D movies. To simplify, these kind of technologies get this spectacular results by rendering the frames using a big server farm. Then, the images are sent to the clients (PCs, mobile phones, PDAs).

Server farm. Photo by Mr.Faber

As you may suppose, the limitations are bandwidth and server power. The server power can be improved with enormous quantities of money, as these images are generated not by a single server but by an huge army of servers.

The bandwidth is the real limit, and not only the server bandwidth. The client bandwidth is the key. Yes, you will receive superb images but your mobile phone or PC will need to be fast enough to download and display them at speed of light (well... much less, but you know what I mean). Otherwise, you'll suffer a big lag.

In the future, this may be more viable. Now, it's utopian.

Having said this, if you take some time watching the video, you'll see that there is a strange mix of the excellent content of the video by the 3D digital artist, and real world images.
There's also some images of some very basic 3D sceneries that don't look realist at all.

You can see some lights that seem to move at render time. But lights can be simulated by simply using transparent images attached as textures to primitives. Also, things like buildings that seem to be highly realist often are just boxes with high quality textures, and no real complex geometry.

In most of the length of the video, there's a lot of blur and movement that distracts the eyes.
These 2 resources, movement and blur, make your mind imagine what you don't actually see.

So don't trust promotional videos like this, that show things in a frenetic movement and blur.


I see an special emphasis in trying to get photorealistic worlds in the last times, and it's something I just can't understand.
It's not the quality of graphics, but the expression they give, what makes virtual worlds immersive.

Rendered teapot. Photo by Chris Fullmer

If users want a virtual world that seems totally real, why not just go out and meet the real world? What users want is a virtual world that can trigger their imagination, their taste for mystery, wonder, or adventure.
Realism is good for a while, but a virtual world that makes its users feel special, keeps them forever.

-Jordi R. Cardona-

© 2008 by Jordi R. Cardona. Link to this post without copying the text.

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Omind said...

I like rich, somewhat realistic enviornments.But I don't need it to be completey real. Working with light mapping, texturing, etc is sufficient. I like my lines between real and virtual to be definate. As I have said elesware, the internet by it's nature gives the appearance of being a "free beer" atmosphere and it can become fuzzy as to what is right & wrong, but blatantly using others work and efforts is wrong and I suspect most people know the difference, even if they claim to be confused.

Jordi R Cardona said...

Yes, they know the difference. Most of the people that copy contents only change when they're forced to do so.

Mcfly said...

I created web3d content..and the medium Is the internet, made for
the internet.

I also think content should
be first before flash...
like the old Black and Whites,
they emphasized excellent
content with the tools and
constraints that they had.

A lot of movies have evolved
into flash over substance.
Its still very fun to find
random quality 3d, just as
it is to find random webpages.

Jordi R Cardona said...

@mcfly agree

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