Sunday, April 13, 2008

Does a new technology mean a new way to breach copyright?

One of the coolest things I've come across in a long while is a tool for 'sucking' 3D data out of any 3D application or video game.

Imagine you want you very own figure of you World of Warcraft character. You simply use this software called ogle to extract the 3D information, clean it up a bit and get it printed on a 3D printer.

Here you can see what I mean.

In case you don't know a 3D printer is like a cross between a bread maker and an inject printer. You put in a powdery substance in the 3D printer and a printing head moves through it spitting out a drops which harden it. After each pass head moves up a fraction slowly hardening the 3D object. The end result is that you can open it up and pull a solid 3D object that was made from your 3D data out of the tin of powder (at least thats a pretty good simplified explanation).

But if you can extrad 3D mesh data, you could also use the 3D models in any number of ways.

The problem might be for computer program manufacturers is that people might rip off their models.

It wouldn't be too hard to (theoretically) get the 3D data for an object, change the mesh a little and then use different texture maps to save you from making your own object.

Having said that, if your reasonably good in 3D it would probably just be easier to make your own models bearing in mind the probable amount of time you would have to spend cleaning up the mesh and the quality of 3D editing software. It would be far too obvious, for example, to use a character (and risk the copyright owner taking legal action against you) from a game for your own project, commercial or not.

I'd hate to see someone intent on inserting DRM into OpenGL (3D graphics data) in an effort to stop 'mesh theft' (my term).

I'm hope this is going to be a technology only really used for fun and for good. I can imagine that might be a cool niche business, 3D printing an painting (from a screenshot) figures of game characters (by that I mean configurable character like the ones in mmorpg's).


Sotopia concepts said...

Hi Tekno_boy,

Did you notice ut is possible to print your model in full color these day's? check:


Tekno Boy said...

Wow, no I didn't now that, I must admit I last looked at 3D printers in about 2000 when printing 3D 'prototypes' could have been an area I wanted to expand my business into, no wonder I'm out of touch!