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It's A Wrap – In 3d

Some of the world’s leading artists and animators are using 3D painting software developed by an Auckland company with backing from Technology New Zealand.

The program enables them to better "wrap" colours and textures around objects in 3D, says Right Hemisphere Ltd managing director Mark Thomas.

Previous programs have been unable to do that very well, which has been a problem in computer art “from day one”. 3D art has suffered as a result, looking simplistic or “too clean to be real”.

“It’s like trying to wrap a football in something like Christmas present paper – there are bunched and wrinkled loose ends that don’t look very good. It’s the same in computer paint programs. The ‘wrap’ – around a head or sculpture – never quite looked right because essentially it was still in 2D.”

Mr Thomas says Deep Paint 3D gives designers artistic media such as oils, watercolours, crayons and pastels, which can be "brushed" directly onto 3D models. Sometimes artists just want to paint dirt into the cracks.

The program has received widespread praise from leading artists and animators, most of whom do work for Hollywood film-makers.

They say it makes goblins more ghoulish, sea-monsters more scary, and people more life-like. One, Bill Fleming, says he is using Deep Paint 3D in all his film and broadcast work. Mr Fleming has trained some of the world’s leading talent now working at companies such as Industrial Light & Magic, Digital Domain, and Pixar.

Mr Thomas says Technology New Zealand’s investment in the project gave his company breathing space for research and development. “It made a difference. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without that.”

Technology New Zealand is the Government agency that invests in businesses to undertake research into new products, processes or services.

Right Hemisphere employs 16 people. It exports most of what it produces to the United States, “mainly for film animations, game developers, and film and TV graphics”, Mr Thomas says.

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