Tag Archives: Maya

How Do You Magically Sort Balls By Their Colours?!

How do people magically sort balls according to their colours?!

Take a look at the viral videos, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : Galton Boards Can Magically Sort Balls By Colour!

People are sharing videos showing coloured balls being magically sorted into their individual colours using Galton boards!

In these videos, a mix of coloured balls are allowed to drop into a simple Galton board, and they somehow fall into separate colours according to their colours!

How is that possible? Are these special sorting boards with magnets that control where the balls fall? Or do these balls have different weights so they would fall in a special pattern?

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Truth : Galton Boards Can Magically Sort Balls By Colour!

This is yet another example of FAKE VIDEOS circulating on WhatsApp, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Those Are Galton Boards

Let me just start by pointing out that the devices or boards you see in those videos are known as Galton boards.

Named after its inventor – English scientist Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), the Galton board is also known as the quincunx, or the bean machine.

The original Galton board consists of a vertical board with interleaved rows of pegs. Beads or small balls are dropped from the top, falling left or right as they hit each peg.

When each ball reaches a peg, it has a 50% chance of choosing a right or left path. Each ball repeats the process at each peg. Eventually, all those balls fall into different bins at the bottom.

Fact #2 : Galton Boards Do Not Sort Balls

Galton boards are not designed to sort balls, whether by weight, size or colour. In fact, real Galton boards use beads or balls of the same colour, size and weight. So there really is no sorting of any sort.

The Galton board is used to demonstrate the central limit theorem – that the binomial distribution approximates a normal distribution with a bell curve, when the sample size is large enough. At the end of a traditional Galton board demonstration, the height of the balls in each bin approximate a bell curve (see photo below).

However, the Galton board can be modified to demonstrate other distributions by changing the shape of the pins, or using a bimodal design. For example, you can create a Galton board to show a log-normal distribution by using isosceles triangles of different widths to “multiply” the distance the ball travels.

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Fact #3 : The Videos Were Computer-Generated

The reason why the balls in those viral videos were able to be sorted so accurately into the same colours is because all those videos were computer-generated using 3D graphics software like Blender or Maya.

One of the viral videos was created by Konstantin Otrembsky – a Russian visual effects artist who works for Channel One Russia. Konstantin posted his video on his Vimeo channel, stating clearly that “it’s a joke video which was made to provoke people to suggest all kinds of theories“, and was created “just for fun“.

Unfortunately, many of these videos are being shared and reposted to mislead people… or simply to generate views or increase the popularity of their social media accounts.

Fact #4 : The Balls Were Coloured After Baking Simulation

You may be wondering how do these content creators actually ensure that the coloured balls fall correctly into the bins according to their individual colour.

For starters, they use 3D graphics software like Blender or Maya to build a virtual Galton board model. They can then run simulations using real physics to see how the balls fall.

If necessary, they can modify the Galton board design, or even the weight of different balls to change the distribution. However, even they cannot simulate the proper sorting of the balls according to their colours.

While it is possible to run enough simulations to create such a video, it would require A LOT of simulation runs and adjustments. Too much work for what’s supposed to be a fun video.

What they do instead is bake the simulation, and then colour the balls after they have fallen. Because the simulation has been baked, the balls will fall exactly the same way again and again. Then all they have to do is render the baked simulation with the coloured balls into a video.

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NVIDIA Brings Near Real-Time Ray Tracing To The Masses

At a regional tech briefing in Singapore on Friday, NVIDIA revealed the power of the NVIDIA ProViz computing platform. Leveraging on the parallel computing capabilities of the NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards to power the NVIDIA Iray technology, they are now able to deliver near real-time ray tracing.

In this video, Bob Pette, VP and General Manager of the NVIDIA Quadro team, explains how NVIDIA Iray and MDL (Material Definition Language) allow for predictive design through near real-time ray tracing. Check out how they help cut down the time to render ray traced images from hours to mere seconds!

More importantly, NVIDIA is finally making this available to the end-users via NVIDIA Iray plugins. Starting now, NVIDIA is offering Iray plugins for both 3ds Max 2016 and Maya 2016. The plugins for 3ds Max 2015 and 3ds Max 2014, as well as the plugin for Maya 2016 for Linux will be available in January 2016. There will also be NVIDIA Iray plugins for Autodesk Revit, Maxon Cinema 4D and Rhino in the spring or summer of 2016.

All these plugins will be sold directly by NVIDIA to end-users for $295 per year, with a 90-day free trial. According to Bob Pette, this price will be the upper limit, with these NVIDIA Iray plugins offered by their partners at lower price points in their own bundles.


Ray Tracing & Predictive Design

Ray tracing has been around for decades, and offers the most photorealistic rendering of any 3D image. However, it is computationally intensive which means real-time rendering is not remotely possible. In fact, the workflow is arduously long and more importantly disconnected.

The disconnect is a big problem, because it means the designer cannot immediately see the results of his/her work. Instead, he/she will have to wait for the final render to be delivered before making changes, and the process repeats until the design is accepted.

Thanks to the highly-parallelised nature of ray tracing, NVIDIA Quadro family of professional graphics cards can deliver almost real-time ray tracing capability via their NVIDIA Iray technology.

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This capability allows a much quicker “Predictive Design” process, because the designer can now predict what the final output would be. Instead of waiting for a render to be finalised at some off-site location, the designer can almost instantly produce a ray-traced view of the design.

Best of all, this capability does not require the designer to physically have access to a powerful render farm, or even high-powered workstations with multiple NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards. In fact, less capable devices, like the NVIDIA Shield tablet, can remotely access those capabilities.

Don’t believe us? Well, take a look at the NVIDIA Iray “Predictive Design” Demo On The NVIDIA Shield Tablet!


How Is This Important?

As far as gaming is concerned, the photorealism derived from ray tracing is not worth the effort and cost. The current “Predictive Design” capability offered by NVIDIA Iray offers a glimpse of what might be possible for PC gaming maybe a decade or two down the line.

[adrotate banner=”4″]What NVIDIA Iray offers now is a much faster and better workflow for designers, whether they are in the engineering or architectural industry. They can now design better products and even buildings faster, because they can see the effects almost immediately.

In his presentation (which we will be posting shortly), he demonstrated how the lack of such ray tracing capabilities have resulted in design faux pas like the infamous Walkie Talkie skyscraper (now nicknamed Walkie Scorchie!), which melted cars in London with its “death ray”.

The remote rendering capability that Bob demonstrated in this amazing video will also be appealing to companies that offer customisation of their products – like cars, apparel and jewellery. Their sales staff can now change colour and material and almost instantly render the final product image for the client to view and approve on-the-spot. Impressive, isn’t it?