The world is becoming smaller and smaller. I don’t mean physically smaller, but rather through new technologies people are able to work together and collaborate on projects over much larger distances. It is common to have projects with people working from many different continents, and as this globalization of teams occurs there is a need for better methods of collaboration. For 3D rendering the large hardware requirements often make it more difficult to keep all team members up to date with hardware to maximize efficiency especially if the team members are continents away from your IT specialist. Enter Lagoa, an Interactive 3D Rendering & Collaboration cloud service.
Lagoa was the brain child of Thiago Costa who is well known for his Lagoa Multi-physics desktop tool he created which has been purchased and incorporated into Autodesk Softimage. Costa and his team decided to address 3D rendering with their new product because rendering is such a hardware intensive and time consuming part of the 3D production process. Any 3D artist staying up late render wrangling can attest to that. I think the part that I still have “trouble” understanding is how Thiago’s team has seemed to magically bring 3D rendering into a web browser. It is absolutely astonishing to be working in a web browser like Chrome and creating test renders and moving lights, etc all with real-time feedback and realistic materials and rendering.
The industries that will find the most use for this service right now will be ones where the end product is a still image. There is no support for animation, at least not yet. Artists in the automotive, production design, or architectural visualization industries however can find a great use for this interactive collaborative renderer.
Why use it?
Lagoa was created with two ideas at its core; to make rendering accessible to everyone and available worldwide.
-No extreme hardware requirements
Maintaining hardware for 3D production can be expensive. The manner in which technology evolves and production tools are developed to take advantage of newer technology forces 3D artists to upgrade their production computers every few years. With Lagoa that need will be reduced.
The ability to log in from any computer that has a web browser with WebGL and access the same file you worked on with a different computer is fantastic. This frees up an artist, no longer tethered by a heavy production computer, to travel more or work from home if need be.
As mentioned you can log into the site and access a file that you had worked on elsewhere. However you do not have to be the only person logged into the file! More than one artist can make adjustments in a file, or simply observe the work that is being done and provide instant feedback at the same rate the user making the changes is seeing it. This will help decrease the time between iterations, and thus increase the number of iterations that can be done in the same time, and with greater iteration comes greater products. David Lesperance mentioned how important iteration is to the design process and collaborative tools included in this product are exceptional.
You really just have to dive in and test it out to believe how fast the changes update, and how fast the rendering is occurring and at what great quality.
-Free to Try
The product is free to try; there are some limitations to what a free account can do, but for testing it out and seeing results you can try it out for free.
With sites like Living Social and Evernote being hacked and having data stolen many people are hesitant to trust putting information into the cloud, and they want to make sure their information is protected well. Lagoa offers data protection as well as the ability to make projects and assets private if you do not wish the Lagoa community to have access.
Finally, I believe Lagoa will help 3D artists is by providing a manner in which to create realistically rendered images with less technical knowledge. I believe it is tools like these that will allow more time for the artistic side of images to be pushed and improved by lowering the technical burden from the 3D artist.