I'm Morgan McGuire (@CasualEffects). I've been working on computer graphics and games for 20 years at great places including NVIDIA, Williams College, Brown University, and Activision.

See my home page for a full index of my blog posts, books, research, and projects.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Upcoming Graphics Codex 1.9 Features

I'm now working on a number of interactive features for the next update of The Graphics Codex to really take advantage of the mobile app (vs. printed book or PDF) platform.   It is already the case in version 1.8 that some of the diagram tables link to more information about a specific topic, for example, some of the elements in the radiometric quantities table shown below on iPad mini
link to detailed information about that quantity and how it is measured.

In version 1.9, many diagrams embedded in chapters will link to high resolution, full-screen versions when tapped.  I plan to extend the functionality to all embedded diagrams eventually.

The most significant upcoming interaction feature is interactive function graphs. Much of the support for this is already in the current version of The Graphics Codex, but the UI and actual content are coming in the new update. Below is a preview of a simple function being edited by dragging handles corresponding to its parameters:

My goal here is to present common parametric envelope and filter functions such as:

  • smoothstep
  • heaviside
  • sinc
  • gaussian
  • box
  • triangle
  • parabola
  • cosine
  • gamma-curve

so that the reader can adjust the shape visually and then copy the parameters in his or her own code, or read out the coefficients for a comparable matrix convolution kernel. I know that in my own graphics work I've tuned gaussian filters for pixel shaders and smoothstep parameters blindly too many times and hope that this will help others who have experienced the same.

There are also new entries, corrections, and chapters coming in the 1.9 update as always.

I know that bookmarks, printing, and sending content to a desktop are desirable features for many people. I've been building support for those, but do not want to release the features until 2.0 because all three require some global user interface changes to present the new options cleanly.  Those changes should be made all at once rather than changing the interface with every point release. They'll also require extensive testing now that there are four form factors (iPhone 5, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad mini) supported. So, look forward to these big UI features later in Q2 2013.

Please continue to e-mail me suggestions and bug reports. I depend on feedback from the community to drive development of the app in the best direction.

Morgan McGuire is a professor of Computer Science at Williams College and a professional game developer. He is the author of The Graphics Codex, an essential reference for computer graphics that runs on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.