Media Technology
Research Centre
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  Graphics, Animation & VR

Recent patents

  • J.W. Patterson and P.J. Willis, "Method for image processing and vectorisation" UK Patent Application 0613199.9 (May 2006).
  • P J Willis "Method for effective, easy, and low cost manipulation of light in digital imaging". UK Patent P40290GB (Sept 2006).

Commercial products influenced by our work

  • Colour Raster Operations
    • The Atari Transputer Workstation used a colour raster operation based on our tagged colour model. We worked with the chip designer and were also able to ensure it supported a full colour (24 bits of colour and 8 bits of tag) operation.
      Reference: Colour raster operations (1988), P. J. Willis and G W Watters, Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 151-159.
  • 2D Vector Animation
    • Cambridge Animation Systems
      Animo is the industry-leading animation software package. Now used by DreamWorks, Warner Studios etc. Our vector drawing package UltraPaint was a precursor and ensured that we were actively involved with both Animo and its Animax addition (below).
      Reference: UltraPaint: a new approach to a painting system (1987, May), P J Willis and G W Watters, Computer Graphics Forum, Vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 119-124.
  • Picture browsers and hierarchical picture storage
    Reference: A picture archive browser (1991), A Hunter and P J Willis, Computer Graphics Forum. vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 49-59
    • The web!
    • Photo CD and sites like now use a similar system.
    • We wrote the Animax Library Browser for Animo:
      Animax GUI
  • Multimedia
    • Siriol Productions
      Internationally-respected animation studio. We worked alongside them when Animo was being developed. They are also the creators of Romuald the Reindeer, on BBC-2 children's TV. Our input was to the interactive game, CD-Romuald, released by the Productive Play Company and sold by B-DAG.COM.
  • Graphics Libraries
    • Atari Transputer Workstation/Perihelion Software Ltd. We wrote this library.
    • Ferranti ARGS and VARS products. VARS-G display system
      Closely involved with various aspects. Used at London Heathrow and elsewhere. Many thanks to one of the original team, Mark Oakley, for these historical documents, and also for this pictureand this paper.
      COMPCON Spring '89. Thirty-Fourth IEEE Computer Society International Conference: Intellectual Leverage, Digest of Papers. San Francisco, CA, USA. 27-Feb-1989 to 3 Mar-1989. pp. 275-280. ISBN: 0-8186-1909-0. INSPEC Accession Number: 3406222 DOI: 10.1109/CMPCON.1989.301941.
  • Long Ago and Far Away
    In the 1970s, before Silicon Graphics were even founded, we produced and patented the frst real-time hardware engine for scan-converting flat-shaded polygons. Based on the DDA technique it also had parallel rendering engines and depth-based occlusion. The SGI Iris 3000 (1985)and the Apollo DN570 were commercial products producing flat-shaded polygons. THE SGI GT (1988) and Apollo DN590 were commercial products with multiple rendering processors. The DDA technique continued to be used in the SG Reality Engine, finally being replaced in 1997 by the Infinite Reality Engine. This used linear equations, a feature demonstrated in versions of the PixelPlanes architecture.

    Improvements in display apparatus for controlling raster scan displays, (R L Grimsdale, P J Willis and A A Hadjiaslanis), Patent Specification GB1532275, January 26th 1977.

    Use of a surface oriented colour raster display in computer generation of images for flight simulators, P J Willis, A Akinde, R L Grimsdale, A Hadjiaslanis and D J Woollons, Proceedings of the International Conference on Displays for Man-Machine Systems, University of Lancaster, April 1977. IEE Conference Publication 150.

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