Working under the Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University, AlphaPixel developed a graphical simulation subsystem for the Virtual Paint coating application training tool.
Virtual Paint is a training system that teaches the proper technique for applying a variety of spray-delivered coatings onto different parts prepared with different initial surface types. Virtual Paint supports numerous coatings with different behavioral and visual properties. These coatings can be applied to the work surface using a mouse, or a variety of 3D input devices and custom 3d-tracked simulated spray guns accessed via the VRPN peripheral interface. These peripherals provide realtime 6DOF input to mimic the feel of a real spray gun. Multiple coatings can be applied to the work surface (one at a time) and at the completion of each coating application, Virtual Paint assesses the student’s performance in terms of area coated within thickness tolerances as well as overspray (waste) amount. Tools are provided for showing graphically the areas that are insufficiently coated, adequately coated and excessively coated. A realtime drip/run model is included to mimic the behavior of paint that becomes too thick.
The graphical subsystem, written in GLSL, simulates numerous layers including a textured and bump mapped initial surface and many layers of paint or stain, each with individual color, opacity and gloss reflectivity. Reflections of the spray booth environment and the spray gun itself are provided by the graphics system. The graphics system also simulates the LaserPaint training tool that instantly provides feedback on whether the gun is being held the desired distance from the work surface.
VirtualPaint is implemented using OpenSceneGraph and Qt and is designed to operate on all major OSes, though it is deployed on Microsoft Windows.
Virtual Paint is an ongoing multi-year project with cutting-edge research. AlphaPixel’s implementation far outpaces the original VirtualPaint in both performance and features.