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l took this picture on my flight from New Orleans to Newark.
Shortly after departure from Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, I was looking out of my window, waiting impatiently for the flight attendants to allow me to switch on my camera.

Looking at the picture, the computer scientist in me was immediately thinking about ways to render such images in real-time. The lighting seems to be extremely challenging. To get the strong rim lights right you will need a truly volumetric scattering effect. Let’s see how far we can get. (… to be continued;-)

Volume Rendering

Computer generated images from various volumetric scans

Beijing, Pacific Vis, April 2009

This was my second trip to Asia. While I expected my stay there to be as easy as in Singapore, things are a little bit more complicated in China. When I arrived at the airport, the staff advised me to take the airport shuttle bus, but the bus won’t take me directly to the hotel. Instead, they told me to take a taxi for the remaining distance.

I followed their advice, but they didn’t tell me that there is not a single taxi driver in Beijing who can read the hotel address in english letters. Negotiation with the taxi driver was really hopeless, until two girls, students at Beijing University, walked by and tried to help. Although, they didn’t know either where to find my hotel (in fact it was just two blocks from the shuttle bus stop ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), their idea was to call every phone number that was printed on my reservation. After, I convinced them not to start with the first number, which was my own office phone in Germany, they finally got the right number ๐Ÿ˜‰

The food in China is – let’s say – interesting ;-). At the conference, we got lunch tickets and they served us all kinds of strange dishes. Most of the time we were not able to tell whether it was meat or vegetables, but it tasted quite well. Most interesting, there were strange, tiny little peppercorns, and if you broke one with your teeth, your tongue was numb for a while. The Japanese girls at our table told us it is called Szechuan Pepper, and it turned out to be some type of local anesthetics ๐Ÿ˜‰

Despite these oddities, I really enjoyed my first trip to China, and of course we had some time to walk the Chinese Wall. Beijing is a really nice city, though poor, the people are extremely hospitable. Here’s a picture of of my trip to the Great Wall with the guys who invited me to participate in our course at the Pacific Visualization conference. Left to right: myself, Jens Schneider (TU Munich), Jens Krรผger (SCI Institute, Utah), and Christian Dick (TU Munich).

You can find the entire photo set at flickr