Portraits of People with Cutting Edge-Jobs

01.02.2012 Misc Tech #Work

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ieee Spektrum hat eine sehr schöne Artikelserie über Leute mit den besten Jobs der Welt, unter anderem mit Nicole Richard, die Software-Managerin von Lego Mindstorms, Brent Bushnell, der OK Gos Rube Goldberg-Maschine gebaut hat, Phillip Toussaint, dem Programmierer der automatisierten Bühnenbilder vom Cirque du Soleil oder Kevin Wang, dem Animator der irren taiwanesischen News-Animationsagentur NMA:

On Wang’s first day as director of NMA’s multimedia lab, he had no employees, no hardware, and no office. The assignment: Reduce the animation production cycle from 2 weeks to 2 hours so that on-the-fly animations could be ripped from the headlines and published on the company’s websites before the news got stale. Accomplishing this, Wang realized, would require a completely new approach to computer animation, using a combination of tricks and shortcuts that no one had tried before.

The process Wang came up with starts with motion-capture technology: Live actors re-create a scene, wearing sensors on their bodies that transmit their movements in a format that can be transferred to digital doubles. Meanwhile, animators use a proprietary software program to turn a 2-D photo of, say, Tiger Woods into a 3-D digital face, which they then slap onto the digital character. The animators fill in the scene largely from what Wang calls a "graphic assets database," essentially a trove of digital images—cars, buildings, beaches, furniture, and so on. "We have 50 different kinds of cups: mugs, paper cups, teacups, and saucers," Wang explains. Finally, a real-time rendering engine ensures that the whole process, from storyboarding to visual editing, takes only 2 hours.

Special Report: Dream Jobs 2012 – There's nothing textbook about the careers of the 10 engineers profiled in our annual Dream Jobs roundup

Hier die Links zu den Portraits:
Nicole Richard: Manages the creation of software for Lego robotics kits.
Jascha Franklin-Hodge: Heads up the technology team for a company that builds websites for politicians, nonprofits, and businesses to get their messages out.
Phillip Toussaint: Writes the software that makes scenery—and sometimes actors—fly across the stages of Cirque du Soleil and other theatrical productions.
José Edimilson Canaes: Uses computer education to empower people
Kevin Wang: Builds computer animation systems used in news and entertainment programs.
Chieko Asakawa: Develops software programs for visually impaired computer users.
John Stafford: Building a Hybrid-Electric, Unmanned Heliplane
Antoine Ravisé: Designs and tests sports electronics devices.
Kevin Hardy: Builds seafloor landers that will go to the deepest trenches on Earth
Brent Bushnell: Conceives and builds outrageous contraptions that entertain people on television, in Internet videos, and in real life.