Monday, December 31, 2007

About Geometric Informatics

Geometric Informatics is a fun startup to work for. It is the classic startup where you have the opportunity to learn new skills and challenge your abilities.

Our passion is to create innovate 3D graphics solutions. We currently have 3 technologies.

  • Avatars

  • GeoVideo, and

  • GeoUV

I am excited about our avatar technology. We create 3D avatars that look exactly like the person they represent. The avatar can use prerecorded speech for information that does not change or changes infrequently, and a text-to-speech engine for dynamic information, information that changes constantly. I believe that avatars are great for marketing, advertising, online education, information dissemination and other uses.

GeoVideo is a real-time, high-resolution, digital acquisition system. It provides an easy way to capture motion in digital form. This technology is great for movie studios and game designers.

GeoUV is a texture mapper plugin for Maya and 3ds StudioMax. It is available for Windows and Linux systems. This product automates the texture mapping process. This benefits the game designer or computer artist by saving them time and money.

I believe in the value of these products not because I work for the company, but that I work with the products' creators. I see the hard work they do and the desire they have to succeed.

This is important to me. I'm learning marketing and sales. I'm the type of person that can't market or sell a product that I don't believe in. That is one of the reasons why I've had many jobs.

I'll share more information about my experiences at Geometric Informatics. Please share your thoughts with me. I'd also like to learn about the companies that you work for. I'm also happy to talk to you about our technologies.


Friday, November 16, 2007

It's the Little Things That Matter

Why do some people succeed and others don't? Two sports teams with equal talent and the same records. One wins the championship and the other doesn't. Why?

Two animators or texture mappers enter a contest. Both have the same level of talent. One wins the contest the other doesn't. Why?

Being successful or being mediocre is your choice. It is just as easy to be successful as it is to be mediocre.

What is the difference between being successful and being mediocre? It is taking the time to do the little things. It is that simple. Here are some examples.

Star sports figures practice the basics every day. Practice shooting 100 baskets every day and you will be a better basketball player. Take the time to learn the different nuances to using your feet for ball handling or how to hold a golf club and you will be a better soccer player or golfer.

Successful writers take the time to proofread, spell check, and the other small things that many writers forget to do.

Successful animation films use modelers, animators, texture mappers and texture painters that take time to do the little things. All the aspects of making a model are important. All the aspects of rigging and animation are important. All the aspects of texture mapping and texture painting are important.

Too often I hear people say that a particular task is not that important. The texture map is good enough. The texture painting is good enough.

Good enough is not success. Some sports teams feel that being in second place is good enough. Others find that making the playoffs are good enough. Some are happy to play the championship game even if they lose. For them that is good enough.

The team that wins the championship is successful. For them good enough is not good enough!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Avatars and Online Identity

Avatars are important! I believe as online communication increases and as virtual worlds become more commonplace, the avatar we choose to be, becomes part of our online identity.

We buy books at Amazon, music from iTunes; we buy and sell items on eBay. Use a credit card or PayPal and you can buy whatever you want.

Establishing online identity is a vital concern for many forms of online communication and online transactions. This is certainly important in business and financial transactions. It is also important in other areas, for example, online voting and other areas of online activity where verifying who you say you are is who you are.

Certainly, privacy issues are extremely important. However, in many real world transactions, we need to establish identity. When you write a check or use a credit card, often you are asked to display your driver's license. When you apply for a job, you need to present different forms of ID to verify that you can work in the United States legally. When you register to vote you need to verify your identity.

I am a strong privacy rights advocate. However, I do believe that in the online or virtual worlds, there are times that you need to verify your identity.

Avatars are one method to do this. Maybe PayPal can use avatars as an additional method to help verify one's identity. Maybe online customers should establish an avatar to represent their online identity.

Online identity is an important issue. It will definitely grow as online business and virtual worlds continue to grow. It will become more important as online communication grows.

Your online identity is extremely important. Avatars are one way to help define this valuable asset.

What Avatars Say About Ourselves

Avatars and virtual worlds are reflections of ourselves. We may enter a virtual world to escape the pressures of the real world or enter a virtual world to explore creations of one's or an other's imagination. However, they say something about ourselves.

Avatars say a lot about the people they represent. Some people want an avatar that looks exactly like themselves. This is important for online communication for the professional and business worlds. For example, as a writer, I want an avatar that represents me, that looks like me. I do a lot of blogging in addition to this blog. Blogs are my marketing tools. My writing is my brand. I want people to associate my brand with my image and avatar.

Many people want an avatar that does not look like them. They may choose an avatar that represents the person that they want to be. For example, they choose an avatar that represents a football or basketball player. It represents the athlete within themselves.

Some choose an avatar that represents a facet of their personality. For example, a person that always sees the comedy in life may choose a clown avatar.

Avatars are important! I believe as online communication increases and as virtual worlds become more commonplace, the avatar we choose to be, becomes part of our online identity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Avatars and Technical Support

Avatars are a great way to provide step-by-step instructions to resolve a problem. When you have a technical issue with your computer, sometimes it is just easier to listen to someone show and explain to you how to fix the problem.

Avatars are user-friendly and provide a more human approach to learn how to fix a problem. Some people learn by reading and others learn by watching and doing.

Naturally, this is not an "either or" solution. The tech support site would also provide written instructions. The avatar adds an additional method to resolve the problem.

Monday, November 12, 2007

GeoUV and Texture Mapping

Texture mapping is an important process. It defines your models. It makes s a model appear as wood, marble, etc. It gives a dress or a couch a fabric texture, suede texture, etc.

According to Wikipedia,

"This process is akin to applying patterned paper to a plain white box."

Texture mapping is important. It is one of the components that makes a model look realistic. Quite simply, the better the texture map, the more realistic the model.

This post is about GeoUV from Geometric Informatics, the company whom I am employed by. GeoUV is a plug-in for Maya and 3D Studio Max. GeoUV excels over other texture mappers by automating the mapping process while minimizing distortion. It increases the amount of memory used for each object, resulting in more efficient memory use and more realistic detail. It is available for Windows or Linux platforms, allowing you to work in your environment of choice.

Here are some examples from GeoUV. This first example illustrates how GeoUV creates a more realistic texture map.

The following images are a tree and its associated texture map.

This last image is of a teapot. I've included it for its beauty.

Click here for an evaluation version of GeoUV. This page also includes links to videos that act as GeoUV tutorials for both the Maya and 3dsMax versions.

Please keep the following in mind when you use the evaluation version.

The evaluation version has limited functionality. Meshes are limited to
triangles; quads are supported in the full version only. The evaluation version
displays the texture coordinates as a flat 3D mesh rather than as actual UV
values. However the full version displays the texture coordinates as actual UV

Friday, November 9, 2007

Eliza and Avatars

One of the most popular programs in computer science is the Eliza program. This program simulates that you are talking to a person when in fact you are having a conversation with a computer program. Here is a link to a Web-based version of that program.

Wikipedia ( provides a nice history behind this program. Here is an excerpt:

ELIZA is a computer program by Joseph Weizenbaum, designed in 1966, which parodied a Rogerian therapist, largely by rephrasing many of the patient's statements as questions and posing them to the patient. Thus, for example, the response to "My head hurts" might be "Why do you say your head hurts?" The response to "My mother hates me" might be "Who else in your family hates you?" ELIZA was named after Eliza Doolittle, a working-class character in George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, who is taught to speak with an upper class accent.”

I think it would be great to add an avatar interface to this program. Try out the Web-based version previously mentioned and then imagine how the program would work with an avatar.

Avatars and Education

Avatars are excellent for online education. They provide the human interaction that is natural in classrooms and in the traditional learning environment.

I teach students online. Message boards, email, and instant messaging are great tools for writing. But what about voice communication! Posting a question on a message board is useful but many times asking the question is better. It is instant, direct, and uses the nuance of voice. Skype works well but avatars are better.

Avatars provide a face to the students and a face to the teacher. They provide the human element to online teaching.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Creating an Avatar

What do you want your avatar to say about you? Think about how you will use your avatar and who will see it. For example, I teach online. How do I want my online students to see me?

I tend to be casual. This is fine when students know me. What about new students or prospective new clients?

The best way to determine how you want your avatar to look is to use real world analogies. I may dress casual when I teach but would I dress the same way for a teaching interview? If I use one avatar for business it is best to be a bit conservative and create an avatar that is appropriate for all business situations.

People have many facets of life. You may want to create different avatars that represent these different facets. For example, you may be a lawyer by day and a jazz musician by night. In this case, create a corporate avatar for your online legal interactions and create a more hip avatar for your music discussions.

Online business mirrors the real world. When you create an avatar, think about how people would measure that appearance in that real world environment. That will help you determine the right avatar for your online professional interactions.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More About Avatars and Business

There are many ways to incorporate avatars into online business. Tech support could definitely benefit. Very few software or hardware customers read a tech support site’s FAQ or documentation. Personally, I don’t blame them. When something doesn’t work, I want to ask and find the solution.

An avatar can be your personal tech support consultant. Type your question and let the avatar tell you the answer. Once you hear the answer, the site can provide a button for you to click on if you want to read or print the instructions.

An avatar provides a human quality to just about any aspect of online communication.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avatars and Business

Online businesses are beginning to use avatars. This rate of usage will increase over the next few years.

You go to Amazon to purchase some books. The beauty of traditional books stores is that they are ideal for browsing, looking for the unknown. An avatar at Amazon can provide this service. Ask the avatar, “What new mysteries are available?” and the avatar tells you the new mysteries that are in stock. You click on a button to view these recommendations or talk (type message) to the avatar to get more information, for example, “Tell me more about the Dead Dancers Have No Rhythm book.”

Avatars enhance online business by adding human qualities to online transactions. While eBay encourages their customers to use Skype to discuss a transaction, many people feel uncomfortable speaking with a stranger. Using an avatar, you communicate through the comfort of typing your message while your avatar does the talking. Avatars provide the face-to-face communication.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


People communicate in many ways. They write, speak, and they use facial and body language. People send email, write blogs, and express opinions in message forums.

An email address identifies the person who sent an email and a user name identifies a person in a forum. How do we identify a voice on the Internet? How do we place a face with a user name?

We use avatars to visually represent a person’s identity online. The avatar may be 2D, 3D, look like a cartoon, or be a high quality, realistic, 3D image that looks like the person it represents.

Avatars are important. Many online applications benefit when they use avatars. Many informational sites populate the Internet. Customers can learn from reading information. However, as people, we trust and validate information when we both hear it and see the person who is speaking that information. This is especially true for life-pertinent information, for example, medical, legal, or financial information.

The avatar must gain the customer’s trust. It is important that the avatar be as realistic as possible. The avatar must be high quality, have a high degree of realism, and must look like the person that is presenting the information. Would you trust medical, legal, or financial information from a cartoon talking head?

High quality and a high degree of realism increase the customer’s level of trust. When you look at the avatar while it is speaking, you need to feel comfortable. The facial expressions need to be serious and friendly. The eyes need to make direct contact with you. The character and emotions of the avatar need to fit the message the avatar is delivering.

An avatar that projects trust is a valuable asset to an online business.