keep the blend zone from revealing itself to the viewer. And off- axis viewing frequently exacerbated the appearance of the blend zone if the system was poorly designed. Adjustment of slight color balance differences between the projectors and the alignment of the projectors to each other in the blend zone was critical to achieving high-quality images. A properly aligned system would help ensure that any part of the screen image that fell within the blend zone appeared in the same sharp focus as the rest of the screen. Processing such a high-resolution screen image for a multiple- projector powerwall display - as well as its monitors - required computer power available only at a substantial cost. This was the era when a multi- processor/ multi- graphics pipe SGI Onyx computer was frequently the solution of choice. With the system's computer easily costing US$ 250,000 or more, the cost of just a basic powerwall for full- scale automobile design visualization could easily exceed US$ 1 million. Nonetheless, the anticipated acceleration of the design process and its related cost savings continued to justify such investment. Visualization goes to the movies: The new world of 4K Multiple- projector powerwalls are still in use throughout the industry, but projector technology has also undergone a digital transformation. Digital DLP, LCD and LCOS projectors are brighter and more stable than ever before, allowing them to be used on a daily basis. But the display resolution can still be a potential problem given that individual pixels now make up the display raster. In the past couple of years, however, a number of design studios have embraced a new projection technology that elevates the powerwall to an unprecedented level of image quality and performance. Originally developed for theater exhibition of extremely high
resolution, digital motion pictures, a single Sony SXRD ® 4K projector can provide sufficient powerwall resolution all by itself. Its impressive native resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels ( referred to as " 4K") represents a fourfold increase over the industry's previous projector resolution maximum of 2048 x 1080 ( 2K). Pat Hernandez, founder and president of IGI, a Detroit, Michigan- based visualization system integrator, has a unique perspective on this latest industry development. " The Sony SXRD 4K projector has allowed us to design systems for our customers that were unthinkable even just a couple of years ago. Just this one projector delivers four times the resolution of HD at a substantial brightness level of 11,000 Lumens. You cannot even detect individual pixels on the screen at arm's length viewing distance." Hernandez says that robust processing is still required to project full- scale, 4K resolution images on a powerwall screen. " We use NVIDIA's Quadro ® Plex technology to drive the 8.8 million pixels," he says, " However, the cost of this graphics processing is a fraction of what was once needed to drive far fewer pixels not that long ago." IGI is in discussions with several major Hollywood post production studios about the use of its 4K displays in the production of 4K digital motion pictures. Hernandez sees exciting potential for 4K design visualization providing the foundation for digital cinema marketing opportunities for manufacturers. " The future digital format of motion pictures will clearly be 4K," predicts Hernandez. " I can see the opportunity for car companies to produce 4K digital cinema preshow ads that will leverage the modeling and visualization work they've already done during the design process. This is already happening for television broadcast ads, but rendering that same digital ad content at 4K for cinema exhibition will be the next step in leveraging the digital design workflow to help generate product excitement. At 4K resolution that content will be absolutely stunning to the cinema audience." THE VEHICLE REVIEW more information? click here!