Lumi Industries, Italian tech start-up, and Atlantica, Canadian 3D Animation College collaborate on the future of animation visualization
Lumi Industries, from Montebelluna, northwest of Venice is working on a volumetric visualization device that creates a brand new experience for industry and consumers alike. The company has teamed up with a Canadian 3D Animation College to showcase artistic 3D Animation renders like they have never been experienced before.
We sat down with Manuela Pipino of Lumi Industries and Jim Kuehnel of Atlantica College to learn more about this intercontinental effort.
Manuela, tell us about Lumi Industries and your general vision.
We started back in 2013 as Makers launching the idea of portability in 3D printing with our first project Lumifold. The idea got validated through a fist small but successful crowdfunding campaign and we decided to invest full time in it creating a startup with the initial mission of making 3D printing benefits available to everyone with high quality, low cost, and compact resin based 3D printers. Over the years the mission has evolved adapting itself to market’s needs and now aims to develop highly innovative solutions connected to the world of additive manufacturing.
In addition to our line of products, we also dedicate part of our resources to the development of open source assistive projects aimed to help people with disabilities. These are ideas for innovative solutions for which we have no resources at the moment, but we share with the world hoping that someone else would like to support us in bring them to life. In the past we have focused on blind and visually impaired people and on Braille language because of its three-dimensionality. We have developed Molbed: MOdular Low cost Braille Electronic Display and a text to braille converter which allow you to create small plates in braille ready for 3D printing. This year our CEO Davide just launched a new project dedicated to mobility who received recognition from the website Hackaday, AWAD: Advanced Walking Assistive Device.
Let's reach out to Jim to learn about Atlantica College.
Thanks. We operate on the East Coast of Canada in Saint John, New Brunswick. Our college is located downtown in Market Square overlooking the Bay of Fundy and the Market Square Boardwalk, which is the city's entertainment hotspot. It's a great place for creative minds to flourish.
We specialize in 3D Animation and have developed a teaching method and curriculum that centres around not only training the next generation of skilled animators but also how they will be better employees when they join an animation study for work after they leave here.
When did you start your school, who is the founder and how did you come up with the idea, what is your mission?
We are currently in our 13th year. I came up with the idea after teaching a part-time course at another college in another city. I am a creative person and always had problems learning in the traditional environment. When I was at that other school, I was horrified to see that this school, as well as almost all others still use the same approach to teach creative subjects as they do to teach math or IT, accounting and so on.
I knew there had to be a better way. So I developed new concepts, stripped everything down to the basics and approached everything from the perspective of how creative people learn. In a very basic sense, creative people need to be physically shown. They often suck at learning by somebody just telling them and by that I mean the way a professor lectures a packed room full of people. Creative people also have strong individual personalities, so there is no magic wand you can swing, load a hundred of them in a room and magically make them get it. That is why I believe a successful teaching approach for creative people absolutely has to include a ton of one-on-one time. And that's what we do. We teach in small groups and then follow up individually and the results are amazing.
Back to Manuela. What kind of products are you working on this year?
This year we are presenting VVD Volumetric Visualization Device, an original patent pending solution, to create three-dimensional projections of any 3D model. The device is portable and affordable, as in our style, and allows an unlimited number of people to visualize a 3D model from any point of view.
The idea was born from our need to double check 3D models before going for 3D printing. In fact, a 3D model watching a flat bi-dimensional screen where depth feeling is created with visual effects and sometimes we do not get a real idea of our model real size and proportions, until we produce it. If our assumptions were wrong, we could have just wasted time and money. We wanted a device which enables us to visualize the 3D model exactly as it is, before producing it.
Once we have created the first prototype, we realized that the use of such a device can be much wider than pure engineering and product design. The fact that the 3D visualization experience can be shared with other people without need of special glasses, unlike Augmented Reality for example, opened up the use of such a device different sectors including: education and training, medical and orthodontic, architecture, museums and exhibitions and marketing and communication.
The project was showcased in important international exhibitions like Formnext Frankfurth, European Maker Faire Rome, CES Las Vegas, Mecspe Parma and now has been launched through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Please check it out and help us spread the word about this new coming technology!
How does collaborating with a school in another country, such as Atlantica College help you in your process?
We develop thanks to our interaction with the others, therefore any collaboration is fundamental for us. The exchange of ideas, sharing feedback, suggestions or 3D models plays an important part to test and improve our products like VVD. We are always happy to collaborate with schools because they tend to have a fresher vision of the future, even better if they are based abroad so they can provide us with different prospective.
Jim, what do you see as the importance of 3D modelling in 3D animation?
3D Modeling is CRUCIAL to animation in every way, shape and form. Without the initial model of the character, the scene or the props, there would be nothing to animate and there would be absolutely nothing to see in general! So, on an importance level, it is at the very top and that is where the initial bursts of creativity come to life.
How can 3D visualization with VVD improve an animator's work?
VVD can be a great tool for people like us because it allows us to be able to show a client or employer what they will be getting without going through all the time it takes to 3D print an object, as that is a very time-consuming process. It can take about 9 hours or longer depending on the size and detail to 3D print a model and the VVD projection is a lot more instantaneous, never mind the "cool factor" that should never be underestimated in any presentation.
It can also be viewed by multiple people simultaneously, so I can see VVD becoming an important tool during production meetings on animated TV and movie productions.
That's an interesting point. Manuela, where do you see trends going in the industry and what role do you see Lumi Industries having?
The interest in 3D printing and 3D visualization is growing but, unlike it was forecast some years ago, the main market for additive manufacturing devices remain professional or semi-professional use. Therefore many companies are coming into this market with new brands but very similar solutions.
We a very creative team and we want to try to distinguish ourselves, proposing unusual and alternatives ideas.
For example, while everybody is looking at AR, which a very interesting technology but limited to a subjective experience, we propose VVD a Volumetric Visualization Device, where an unlimited number of people can watch a 3D model from any point of you at the same time, making this a shareable experience.
While most of resin-based 3D printers have similar specifications and look almost the same, we want to change the way we look at the device itself, evolving the idea of portability with a 3D printer that can be smaller than its printing volume like in our next project The New Lumifold.
Thanks to both of you for your insight.