Okay. Did you check it out? I’m particularly partial to The Snow Globe, Epic Imaging, and the ADi 2009 New Year Project, a hauntingly abstract journey through the clouds. Clearly ADi is populated by some pretty creative people with superb technical skills.
Ertmann told me, when we spoke recently by phone, “ADi does any type of animation, but we excel in that creative space between story telling and technology – creative but still based on physics and math. We love using animation to explain new technology, demonstrating a concept visually that would otherwise be so much harder to grasp.”
If the folks at ADi like physics and math so much, I asked Kate if her company develops the fundamental algorithms that drive the animations, or if they get them from customers. She said, “We can do both. We can create the geometry of a model based on the data provided and then we apply the shading algorithms to that model or our customers can give us their CAD data – something we call the ‘heavy model’ – and we can lighten it up to more easily move it around in a 3D space.”
Given the complexity of the 3D animation and images produced by the company, it’s not surprising that ADi has a huge render farm. They also have huge range of customers, everyone from Intel to eco-friendly enterprises based locally in Oregon.
“We work with a lot of different types of industries,” Kate said. “We do a ton of work with Intel, for instance. We’ve been helping them for 10 years now, to visualize new processes for their employees or new products for their customers. We can create animations for technologists to communicate with other technologists, or for tech folks to help their sales and marketing people reach a wider audience.
“But we work for other types of industries, as well. For example, attorneys working on patent disputes will hire us to create animated tutorials to help illustrate a technology for a judge or jury. It serves as a way to demonstrate to a layman what people are talking about in a complicated patent case.”
Given her company‘s track record in high-tech, I asked Kate if she could envision a way ADi might provide animation services to the EDA industry. “Absolutely,” she said. “There’s been a lot of work done lately looking at the human factor in technology, particularly how people learn to use technology.
“At ADi, we can take a photo of a real device, or the user interface for a software application, and render it into something that’s far more stylized and far more [appealing and interesting]. We can create an animation of an object or idea, which then serves as a great way for people to learn how to use a technology.”
Could ADi produce an animation demonstrating how to use an EDA tool, or a detailed voyage ‘through’ an IC designed with that tool? Again Kate said, “Absolutely, that‘s exactly what we do. If a picture is worth a thousand words, an animation is worth even more. When people learn this way, so much time is saved.”
It’s a Blog, Blog, Blog, Blog World ….
* Open Source EDA Tools defeat Lock-in – Dream on
“If a shared-code mechanism evolves between the EDA vendors and the open source EDA developers, there may come a time someday when open source-like solutions are applied to problems in electronic design as effectively as open source solutions today tackle problems as diverse as accounting, graphics, and office productivity.”
* String of Pearls vs. Web of Wonder
“I suspect I’ll find that the line of tools I’m attempting to unearth isn’t a line at all, but a multi-dimensional mesh of interconnected applications from a wildly interconnected set of vendors that’s devolved over time from a streamlined flow into a rat’s nest of confusion and overlap.”
* The EDA Town & Gown Twitter Project – 100 Days of Glory
“I added my lack of Tweets to the idea that lots of info could be packed into an itty bitty space, and combined that with the impression that the people connected to me on Twitter were mostly from EDA, plus my conviction that the academics and industry types together have created this industry, and voila! The EDA Town & Gown Twitter Project was born.”
* The EDA T&G Project
Virtual cool ….
* Dassault Systèmes announced that the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination has chosen the Dassault’s 3DVIA, to create the “first ever World Expo Shanghai Online … accessible to anyone anytime, providing virtual visitors with 3D lifelike experiences, real-time interaction and a global platform to allow everyone’s online presence at the Expo.” Very cool!
Linking arms ….
* Accellera and SPIRIT announced they will be merging into a single organization. This is the result of a complicated decision on the part of the two organizations to combine resources, seek and find synergies, and move boldly forward with a new vision that embraces progress on both the design language and IP standard fronts. It’s a commendable act of unity to create the new organization, which will be branded Accellera. The industry can certainly expect a great deal of contribution from this new and even more powerful force in the industry.
* CoWare and EVE announced what the companies are calling “the first fully-integrated, high-performance solution combining virtualization and emulation to enable pre-silicon software development and hardware/software co-verification for multicore ARM AXI-based SoC designs. CoWare Virtual Platform and EVE’s ZeBu emulation uses CoWare’s fast untimed emulation adapters and EVE’s Synthesizable AXI Transactors … bridging the gap between the virtualized, transaction-level representation of the system for software development and the RTL implementation of subsystem hardware in emulation.”
“The hybrid, off-the-shelf solution enables fast and efficient development of hardware-dependent software and hardware/software co-verification ahead of first silicon. By enabling transaction-based communication of RTL design blocks with an electronic system level (ESL) environment at 100,000s transactions/second, it accelerates the development cycle for SoC designs while increasing verification productivity.”
* Synopsys announced its System-Level Catalyst Program “to accelerate the adoption of system-level design and verification.” Everybody’s welcome … EDA vendors, IP vendors, embedded software guys, and service providers. If you join, you get access to Synopsys’ system-level and rapid prototyping products, plus use of the Synopsys System-Level Catalyst logo with your related produced.