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Voxels vs. Polygons (40westdesigns.com)
35 points by four 1493 days ago | hide | past | web | 6 comments | favorite

Voxels make sense in some types of 3D printing. But for almost none of the reasons the Author described.

The author makes a case that every 3D print manufacture has known since the day they started. Each "squirt" of print media is a volumetric dot. A Voxel.

The problem is that each brand printer has a different sized "dot". So the Voxels from one format might not directly correspond to your object. Sure some printers could print at a lower resolution [larger dot / voxel], but rendering a pattern from a smaller voxel to a larger is VERY difficult. Errors result in pieces that don't connect, or detail being removed.

Polygons work like the "How many tennis balls on the bus" and create a container for the media, but also allow for non spherical output. You can build a column or an arch from a steady stream of media. You can't do this with voxels.

Voxels would work better if we were in Zero Gs as well because Printers can't actually make round dots, they are always deformed by gravity and contact.

Voxels have long been a goal in 3d gaming/graphic but no major need since it changes things quite heavily in how assets are designed (pipeline changes). But for 3d printing, it makes total sense and might be something that pushes voxel use over tessellation and other tricks.

Does anybody know if there is an extension of run-length encoding to volumetric 3d data?

In PolyVox (http://www.volumesoffun.com/polyvox-about/) we provide RLE as one of the options for compressing volumes. In future versions we will also have deflate-type compression as an option. RLE is very good for 'Minecraft-style' volumes where there are few voxel values and large contiguous areas. For the mandelbulb (and medical scan output) it will be less effective since the raw data is smoothly varying

Volumetric data is usually compressed using sparse voxel octrees.

You could use a lossless video codec to achieve the desired effect.

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