Monday, October 26th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

See Adobe’s physics-aware layout system Physics Whiz

Adobe has previewed Physics Whiz, an experimental new physics-aware tool for laying out 3D scenes that enables users to place objects in real time with realistic rigid body collisions, inertia and gravity.

The system, which was contrasted to the existing layout workflow in Adobe Dimension, was shown off at Sneaks, the firm’s annual preview of its current R&D projects, at Adobe MAX 2020.

Other work-in-progress tech shown during the event included mobile photogrammetry tool Scantastic and AI-driven material capture system Material World.

Layout 3D scenes in real time with accurate gravity and object collisions
Adobe describes Physics Whiz as a faster way to lay out 3D scenes realistically, combining “a user’s intuitive sense of physical manipulation with the precision of digital tools”.

It enables a user to move 3D objects in the viewport then have them respond to simple physics properties, falling under gravity or colliding with other objects, rather than having to place everything by hand.

In the demo, it was used for a range of layout tasks, from stacking books to dropping pencils into a pot.

A simple semi-automated layout workflow for users of 3D apps like Dimension?
Physics Whiz isn’t a revolutionary idea: a lot of other DCC applications have physics-based layout or scattering tools – either natively, as in the case of Houdini’s Solaris toolset, or as third-party plugins.

However, Physics Whiz looks to be aimed at a much less technically minded audience.

In the demo, it was contrasted with the existing manual scene layout workflow in Dimension, Adobe’s 3D layout and rendering software for graphic designers.

And while it isn’t guaranteed to make it into a commercial release, Adobe Sneaks often go from prototypes to production pretty quickly: last year’s Project Sweet Talk has just made it into Character Animator 3.4.

Also previewed: new reality capture systems Scantastic and Material World
Of the other tech previews shown at this year’s Sneaks session, the two most relevant to 3D artists were mobile photogrammetry system Scantastic and material capture toolset Material World.

Scantastic, shown as a prototype inside Adobe’s Capture app, generates 3D models from phone footage.

Rather than users having to capture a series of still images, the system works in real time: you simply move your phone around the object being scanned until Scantastic shows you it has enough data.

The corresponding 3D model is then generated in the cloud, on Adobe’s servers.

Material World converts single source photos into 3D materials, automatically removing highlights and shadows from the colour texture, and generating normal and height maps.

Adobe is already using similar technology in its commercial tools: material authoring software Substance Alchemist got a new new AI-trained image-to-material system earlier this year.

However, Material World is also shown running in a web browser, opening up the possibility that it will become available as a service for any Adobe user.

You can read about the Sneaks previews via the link below: our own favourites were motion-blur-removal system Sharp Shots and On the Beat, which automatically edits dance videos to sync them to the music.

Read more about Adobe MAX 2020’s Sneaks session on Adobe’s blog