A Low Cost Animation System Applied to Ray Tracing in Liquid Crystals
Animated movies of scientific graphics can be recorded on film with the low-cost system of hardware and software described here. The hardware consists of a 16mm camera, a stepper motor, and a simple cameramotor controller. The software is designed to produce bitmaps from graphical data, combine bitmaps into composite frames, and record frames onto film. The camera is fully controlled by the same graphics workstation that is used to display the images, so that fades and dissolves can be done by software with a camera not designed for such special effects. The graphical data generated on a supercomputer, is subsequently transferred to the workstation where it is stored and recorded frame-by-frame according to a configuration file. A variant of the software, which operates across local and wide area networks, makes use of network computing software to send computationally intensive tasks to a remote supercomputer or to other workstations in a distributed computing environment. We have used the system to simulate polarized light microscope images of liquid crystals according to a single-scattering ray-tracing theory.
KeywordsLiquid Crystal Configuration File Remote Procedure Call Distribute Computing Environment Composite Frame
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