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Building Real-Time Workflows For 3D Graphics

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In preparing an article about best practices for 3D broadcast graphics, we've come to realize that the term "3D" is a bit of a redundancy – since today's most visually compelling and highest-quality graphics are, by their very nature, rendered in the three-dimensional space, writes Jesper Gawell, chief marketing officer, ChyronHego.

Today's most advanced 3D rendering engines are now capable of creating incredibly realistic 3D graphics, thanks to the tremendous GPU processing power now available.

One area that takes 3D rendering requirements to extremes is the world of virtual sets and augmented reality for news and weather environments. Virtual and augmented reality solutions for broadcasting have existed, in various forms, for several years, but only recently has the technology advanced enough to provide a truly viable and photo-realistic option for the studio environment. To make virtual set elements as realistic as possible from every angle, the rendering engine needs to be able to re-create a set element as it might appear in real life; for instance, a console that the on-air talent can walk completely around.

In order to achieve this level of realism and execute the highest-quality virtual sets, broadcasters need graphics-rendering solutions that can integrate easily with state-of-the-art 3D authoring and modeling tools such as MAXON Cinema 4D or Autodesk 3ds Max. On the flip side, these tools are not meant for real-time rendering but are designed for building photo-realistic 3D models in a non-live environment. With a highly skilled design resource or agency fluent in such tools, a broadcaster just needs a smooth and efficient workflow for importing and rendering the 3D models in real time and delivering them to air.

At ChyronHego, we've given this workflow a great deal of thought. While our Lyric graphics rendering and playout platform is a perfectly capable authoring tool for traditional broadcast graphics such as lower thirds, OTS graphics, and score bugs, we recognized that specialized design tools are needed to create highly advanced 3D models from scratch. Therefore, we've taken pains to ensure that solutions such as Lyric can smoothly import even the most complex 3D models including entire scenes and sets.

Such considerations were top-of-mind for ChyronHego recently when we forged an OEM partnership with Hybrid, a leading manufacturer of virtual reality and robotics solutions for the digital media and broadcast industries. We're working together to develop and market solutions based on Hybrid's line of advanced tracking and trackless virtual studio and robotic camera head technologies. Hybrid is an ideal partner for ChyronHego, not only because of its world-class solutions for virtual sets and robotics, but also because Hybrid shares our philosophy of workflow integration with industry-leading 3D authoring tools.

The Hybrid partnership is in complete alignment with ChyronHego's overall strategy for virtual and augmented reality solutions. With the Hybrid solutions, we'll be able to fill an important product niche and offer our customers best-of-breed technologies for building extremely compelling, visually striking, and realistic sets.

In addition to integration with authoring tools, it's very important for broadcasters to adopt a holistic graphics rendering environment that supports the entire broadcast workflow. In other words, working with sophisticated and hyper-realistic 3D virtual sets should be no more complex than dealing with a lower third. That's the approach ChyronHego has taken with CAMIO, our graphics asset management server and production workflow application. With CAMIO, graphics of all levels of complexity can be fulfilled via template from the newsroom environment. Workflow integration is evident in virtually every aspect of CAMIO, from the LUCI modular interface with newsroom computer systems (NRCSs), to the solution’s tight integration across the entire ChyronHego product line.

In the end, we recognize that broadcasters need a consistent and integrated workflow that can reduce cycle times for delivering any type of graphics presentation to air, with seamless support for "the right authoring tool for the job."

Jesper Gawell is chief marketing officer of ChyronHego.


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