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Pixel Inventor Goes Back To the Drawing Board

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the I-favor-little-triangles-myself dept.

Displays 304

lawpoop writes "Russell Kirsch, inventor of the square pixel, goes back to the drawing board. In the 1950s, he was part of a team that developed the square pixel. '"Squares was the logical thing to do," Kirsch says. "Of course, the logical thing was not the only possibility but we used squares. It was something very foolish that everyone in the world has been suffering from ever since.' Now retired and living in Portland, Oregon, Kirsch recently set out to make amends. Inspired by the mosaic builders of antiquity who constructed scenes of stunning detail with bits of tile, Kirsch has written a program that turns the chunky, clunky squares of a digital image into a smoother picture made of variably shaped pixels.'"

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Suffering ? (0, Flamebait)

Soilworker (795251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32829954)

Why are we suffering from it since so ?

I did not read the article, so I don't know if it's answered there.

Re:Suffering ? (2, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830022)

RTFA.

Re:Suffering ? (2, Insightful)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830036)

Why are we suffering from it since so ?

I did not read the article, so I don't know if it's answered there.

+1 blatant

Re:Suffering ? (3, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830672)

blatant as it may be, I read the article three times now - and Soilworker, you did well not to bother. I'm pretty sure the answer is not in there.

This doesn't seem to be about square pixels in terms of display technology (where hexagonal pixels may indeed be superior).
It also doesn't seem to be about picture acquisition.
On the face of it, it seems to be talking about mapping rudimentary shapes to pixels so that they conform to a most-likely contrast-matching scenario with regard to surrounding pixels. Which some other posters here already pointed out with posts about JPEG and the like - but it's not really comparable to that either. Not in technique and not in performance.

At best, as far as I can take away from it, it could be a different way to display an image when zoomed in / a technique that could be used when enlarging an image to provide greater apparent detail (although you wouldn't want to enlarge it - you'd want to store the masks found with the original image for display).

The results in the news blurb look pretty decent and if nothing else 'different' from other 'smart scaling' methods, so it's worth exploring. But what this has to do with square pixels as we're mostly familiar with them, I have no idea.

Now, about those hexagonal display pixels...

Re:Suffering ? (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830080)

Why are we suffering from it since so ?

I did not read the article, so I don't know if it's answered there.

It is now apparent that for a comparable amount of information stored, a more complex algorithm (with maybe even N passes required) could be employed to produce better results to the human eye [wired.com] . To me, this article seems to miss the beauty of keeping it simple and going with the square. I would also bet that all of his examples are done by starting out on a square based pixel image. How would one scan an image in one pass with his new suggested method? This might become a better standard but I would wager it would make a lot of things computationally more expensive and displaying the images more complex. Not to mention manipulation of the image gets a bit trickier and probably throws a monkey wrench in a lot of our widely implemented compression technologies that already produce this sort of "creative blocks" of multiple pixels.

I'm not an expert in this field and I find his further research neat and mildly innovative but I would bet that when it comes down to weighing the practicality of implementation that squares remain.

Re:Suffering ? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830462)

From looking at the two pictures, however, I'm thinking the guy just might have discovered a new way of compressing images.

Re:Suffering ? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830790)

Or fractal images could be used to produce even better pictures that would scale well. Sounds like he is trying to invent a half-assed fractal (which admittedly would take less processing to produce).

Re:Suffering ? (3, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830200)

"Why are we suffering from it since so ?

I did not read the article, so.."

You couldn't have read it with your square pixel screen, anyway.

Re:Suffering ? (1)

cryoman23 (1646557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830362)

i read it... and mainly says that less pixals is better and make each pixal bigger if it is similar enough to the surrounding pixals, it lowers the resolution by then deleting the surrounding pixals and replacing them with that one big pixal, basically were not suffering if u ask me

Re:Suffering ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830542)

pixal = picture ailment (because we've been suffering from them for so long).

Invented the pixel? (0)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32829960)

Jeebus!! Invented the pixel. I'll be damned. :-P

Re:Invented the pixel? (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830042)

Jeebus needed a single-pixel transparent GIF to do the walking on water miracle.

Re:Invented the pixel? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830474)

That's not water, it's just single-pixel #00C PNGs.

Re:Invented the pixel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830102)

Jeebus!! Invented the pixel. I'll be damned. :-P

That's nothing. What about the guy back in the 40s that invented the color blue!

Re:Invented the pixel? (5, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830138)

Jeebus!! Invented the pixel. I'll be damned. :-P

That's nothing. What about the guy back in the 40s that invented the color blue!

No, no... They didn't have color in the 1940s. Just look at the movies from back then...

Re:Invented the pixel? (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830224)

No, no... They didn't have color in the 1940s. Just look at the movies from back then...

Actually, you jest, but I remember the first time I saw footage from WWII that was in colour and being stunned, because it was so vivid.

And, then there was the Russian guy [quazen.com] who created colour photos in 1909 using techniques he created himself.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Re:Invented the pixel? (0)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830168)

Well, there's Picasso's Blue Period, which might be prior art. It sure is gross, 'tho. I mean Picasso was a guy so why did he have periods? And why were they blue?

Re:Invented the pixel? (2, Interesting)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830476)

Most of the great artists were mad.

Re:Invented the pixel? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830504)

Answer: Aunt Flo was rigid.

Re:Invented the pixel? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830548)

Answer: Aunt Flo was rigid.

Rigid, or frigid? :-P

Re:Invented the pixel? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830650)

Your imagination is your own... ;)

Re:Invented the pixel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830818)

I invented a new color. It's a combination of blue and yellow. I call it "Blellow."

Huh? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32829984)

Just exactly what the fuck is wrong with square pixels? They are the easiest to manipulate algorithmically.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830070)

In a word? Jaggies [wikipedia.org]

Re:Huh? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830184)

In a word? Anti-aliasing.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830502)

Anti-aliassing is essentially a form of blurring.
You eliminate jaggies at the cost of sharpness.

Using non-square pixels is an interresting (although perhaps not practical) way of tackling this issue.

Re:Huh? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830536)

That's just more square pixels.

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830264)

But those are pretty easy to solve. The most complete solution is simply to increase display resolution past what the eye can perceive. Have small enough pixels, no jaggies can be seen. We are working towards that bandwidth of the interconnects and cost being the only hurdles, and those are going away slowly. As a quite effective stopgap, anti-aliasing can be applied. It is very easy to do on modern GPUs for little cost.

Now, take a variable size, variable geometry pixel grid. Tell me how your process that, how you store it in memory, how you rasterize images to it. Sound like some complex problems? They are, very complex. So solve all that, and in such a way computers can process it in realtime with cheap hardware (if it is even possible). Then you get to tackle the REAL hard part: Building a physical display that can display said pixels.

So, you can do all this, which I am unconvinced is possible, OR, we can simply work on making displays with more pixels. Get displays up in the 300-400PPI region and none of this is a problem anymore. While that will take more bandwidth than our current interconnects provide, engineering higher bandwidth interconnects is a well understood problem and there are a number of solutions (such as simply running more channels in parallel). It will also require working on ways to bring the cost of high density displays down but again, we've had a great deal of success with that. LCDs went from VGAish resolutions that were quite expensive and small to massive HD displays in about a decade.

To me, it seems like we have the solution to the problem. This new solution sounds far, far more complex and likely impossible.

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

gotpoetry (1185519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830600)

Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of displays in this country. The Sycraft-fu Mach3 was the display to own. Then the other guy came out with a 300 Pixel Per Inch display. Were we scared? Hell, no. Because we hit back with a little thing called the Mach3Turbo. That's 300 PPI and an aloe strip. For moisture. But you know what happened next? Shut up, I'm telling you what happened--the bastards went to 400 PPI. Now we're standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling 300 PPI and a strip. Moisture or no, suddenly we're the chumps. Well, fuck it. We're going to 500 Pixels Per Inch.

Sure, we could go to 400 PPI next, like the competition. That seems like the logical thing to do. After all, three worked out pretty well, and four is the next number after three. So let's play it safe. Let's make a thicker aloe strip and call it the Mach3SuperTurbo. Why innovate when we can follow? Oh, I know why: Because we're a business, that's why!

You think it's crazy? It is crazy. But I don't give a shit. From now on, we're the ones who have the edge in the PPI game. Are they the best a man can get? Fuck, no. Sycraft-fu is the best a man can get.

What part of this don't you understand? If 200 PPI is good, and 300 PPI is better, obviously 500 PPI would make us the best fucking display that ever existed. Comprende? We didn't claw our way to the top of the display game by clinging to the 200 PPI industry standard. We got here by taking chances. Well, 500 PPI is the biggest chance of all.

Here's the report from Engineering. Someone put it in the bathroom: I want to wipe my ass with it. They don't tell me what to invent--I tell them. And I'm telling them to stick 200 more PPI in there. I don't care how. Make the Pixels so thin they're invisible. Put some on the stand. I don't care if they have to cram the 500th pixel in diagonally to the other four hundred, just do it!

Re:Huh? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830660)

You could store all your images in a vector format and then have the screen rasterize it prior to display (the same way a printer does). Then you are only limited by the display resolution.

Re:Huh? (1)

TD-Linux (1295697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830864)

Bandwidth to the LCD isn't really a problem at all. Making a large quantity of pixels, however, is. The trick is that customers expect a perfect display - therefore, as you get more pixels, your yield drops, as a single dead line makes a display completely unsellable. Then of course, there is existing software that expects a screen to be 72-96 dpi (e.g. LABVIEW I HATE YOU WITH PASSION). Smartphones don't have this problem because they were designed from the ground up for variable resolution and dpi displays.

Re:Huh? (1)

dsavi (1540343) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830562)

And non-square pixels help the general public how? I'm having a hard time imagining a screen that could display non-square pixels, or rather pixels with varying shape, using today's technology. Or technology in the next five or so years.

Re:Huh? (1)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830876)

Who says a display has to be raster-based? If you eliminate that constraint, then other image encoding schemes may be considered, including vectors, wavelets and, yes, variable-sized pixels (though how one defines a 'pixel' in this context is arbitrary).

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830634)

Jaggies?

Just yell "enhance!" at your screen for a crystal clear picture.

Hey, it works for CSI.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830098)

Exactly. Besides, you have to have some kind of regular pixel on a physical display, so it has to be some geometric shape that meshes well with itself: squares, rectangles, triangles, or hexagons. Squares are the easiest. To overcome the blockiness, you just have to decrease the pixel size enough, and increase its density enough, so that the human eye can't perceive the individual pixels. Modern displays have pretty much achieved this.

It sounds like this guy's trying to invent variable-size pixels, but that doesn't make sense. Sure, you could come up with algorithms for dealing with them efficiently, but making a physical display that shows variable-size pixels is anything but trivial, and pointless since we can already make square pixels so small.

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

thodelu (1748596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830292)

Pixel was probably loosely used in the article. The link talks about image formats and how they use square pixels; not the physical pixels on display devices - which are rectangular generally.

Re:Huh? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830360)

Agreed that variable pixel sizes sounds like a silly pursuit; the pixel's boundary would require too much information to be useful.

An alternative regular tessellation does make sense, though. Hexagons can be packed with a greater density than squares (e.g. animal kingdom's genetic algorithm settled on it in many places, including our eyes and honeybee combs). The neighboring scheme for adjacent hexagons is in some ways more sensible. Spatial FFTs on hexagonal images might be nice

The downside: addressing schemes for hexagonal images would probably be quite tough compared to rectangular, which matches nicely to Cartesian coordinates.

Re:Huh? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830572)

Actually, I know of no color display that actually has square pixels. Even modern LCD displays use non-square pixels. If you combine three subpixels you get a square, but the subpixels can be set individually.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830724)

Storage requirements go up as a square when you make the pixels half as tall/wide. Are we ready to return to vector displays?

Re:Huh? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830878)

Storage requirements go up as a square when you make the pixels half as tall/wide.

So what? Storage space is plentiful, and increasing geometrically. You can buy a 2TB hard drive now for just over $100. More importantly, display pixel density is NOT increasing geometrically; in fact, it's just about stagnant (except on smartphones, but they've just about hit their peak too with Apple's new display). Most displays now are 1920x1080, and it's unlikely they'll go much higher since the human eye can only perceive so much, so there wouldn't be any benefit to it.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830134)

From what I could tell, his solution to square pixels is smaller square pixels in certain arrangements... oh, that and not calling them smaller pixels.

Re:Huh? (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830786)

Just exactly what the fuck is wrong with square pixels? They are the easiest to manipulate algorithmically.

There's no such thing as square pixels: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.79.9093 [psu.edu]

That memo basically makes the point that a pixel is an infinitesimally small point, a sample representative of the colour in that area. The sampling can be of any form, for example it may have a Gaussian shape, and thus when displaying an image made of these pixels (samples) we should spread the colour of those points to the surrounding area in a suitable way (eg. with a Gaussian).

If we're talking about PC monitors then we may presume that the display is made out of little squares, but we must think about the best way to map our sample of image colour (our pixels) onto that surface of squares. Doing a 1:1 mapping might be OK in some cases, but it's a very naive approach, especially if the pixels are further apart than the squares on the display.

April 1st already? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32829986)

I mean seriously..

In my early days of computing, pixels werent square.. they were rectangles (4:3 display, 320x200 resolution.. do the math)

Now who wants to write a rasterizer for non-rectangular pixels... any takers?

Pixels cut into two pieces (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830126)

Now who wants to write a rasterizer for non-rectangular pixels

From the article: The pixels are still square; they're just cut into two pieces along a line through the pixel, and each piece has a color. (It sort of reminds me of S3TC.) The edge of a polygon would have one piece for the front and one for the back, and any other points along it would have one piece for each of two texture samples.

He didn't invent this (2, Funny)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830002)

Somebody addressed this problem a long time ago, I see it on CSI every week.

Re:He didn't invent this (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830248)

Somebody addressed this problem a long time ago, I see it on CSI every week.

Actually, I think he's making it real. If TFA is any indication, he can smooth an existing image and produce rather spectacular enhancements.

Hmmm... (1, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830040)

Someone forgot to credit the Onion for this article.

Really, square pixels are an invention? Meh. And he might want to credit Georges Seurat for his new direction.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830132)

Really, square pixels are an invention?

Ummm ... the guy created the first digital image, on the "only programmable computer" in the US at the time. I would say yes, that's an invention.

From what TFA says, he might be well on his way to improving digital imaging by a fair bit too, because he's being a little smarter about how he builds the images and breaks it down into sections.

In effect, he's building a better pixel.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830550)

I think one thing that's key to take away from this is he's talking about image file pixels, as in from PNGs.

I originally read the subject and went 'ooh, new LCD pixel patterns?!'

Of course, his funky pixelated images still have to be rendered on the rectangular pixels the screen displaying it uses.

Re:Hmmm... (2, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830560)

Ummm ... the guy created the first digital image, on the "only programmable computer" in the US at the time. I would say yes, that's an invention.

From "A Brief History of the Pixel [foveon.com] ":

Paul Nipkow had filed a German patent application on his mechanical-scanning TV or Elektrisches Teleskop1 in 1884, in which he referred to Bildpunkte--literally picture points but now universally translated as pixels...Alfred Dinsdale had written the very first English book on Television in 1926, but instead of picture element he had used there lots of other colorful language: a mosaic of selenium cells, a great number of small parts, thousands of little squares...

There's much more, but it suffices to say that Russell Kirsch is only a minor footnote in terms of the history of the pixel. He may have invented something, but it wasn't square pixels. No doubt, someone colored in blocks on a sheet of graph paper to make an image before pixels were ever used in conjunction with an electronic device. And using square pixels on a computer connected raster scanned display is just common sense, not an invention - it makes the math simpler.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830206)

Really, square pixels are an invention?

Come on, we all know you're sore from square wheels failing in the marketplace.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830316)

After 40 years of hindsight, it's hard to imagine that drawing alpha-numeric challenges on a ray-tube was challenging. Different ball-of-wax with vector displays, too.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830526)

What is it with the idiots on this site who feel it necessary to discount anything anyone else has done? Yes, the guy invented square pixels. And the term pixel. And digital photography. What have you done?

summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830044)

he used 36x the number of square pixels

Pixels aren't little squares (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830058)

Here's a relevant article about it: http://alvyray.com/memos/6_pixel.pdf

Re:Pixels aren't little squares (1)

cowdung (702933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830234)

The bug in this article is that he's not saying that pixels are squares.. He's saying that we digitize as if they were squares. Instead he'd like to digitize in irregular shape. Its like an adaptive compression algorithm.

Of course, if we digitize better, the information gathered will be closer to the original so the image should more like the original.

(What I wonder though, is if there aren't intelligent digitization algorithms that are already doing this.. I'd be surprised if they weren't)

Re:Pixels aren't little squares (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830490)

His algorithm steps up pixel density by 36, fusses around with it to enhance contrast, then effectively halves it again (as each pixel is now 2 fixed, if oddly shaped, blocks of solid color). I think this is more effective as an "enhance contrast" algorithm than a compression algo, since it seems you would still need to account for the increased resolution, though adding tracking as RGBA1/RGBA2/Shape/Rotation could streamline the bitmap data.

Re:Pixels aren't little squares (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830848)

IANA Mathematician, but thinking about it more: You wouldn't actually need the shape. If you split a square in half at a given angle, you will get triangles and rectangles he seems to describe. One byte can store 0-180 in 12 15 degree increments, leaving 4 values to alternately mimic the "pixel" above it, to the left, up and to the left, or up and to the right. Then read them as 2 pixel pairs, where the 4 alternate values of subpixel 2 reference to the right, lower-right,down, and lower-left. Given a 36 pixel block you could store as 2 subpixels:


sx1: 0xR(ot)AARRGGBB
sx2: 0xR(ot)AARRGGBB

where sx1 Rotation defines 1 radian from 0-180 and sx2 rot defines a radian from 180-360, and uses them to slice the block into two colored regions (or references an identically shaped and colored neighbor). Slap a compression algorithm on that data structure, and it might actually crunch up nicely.

Still square pixels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830068)

nevermind that most computer displays were using rectangle pixels, nevermind that the article claims there was only 1 programmable computer in the US in 1950

look at his closeups, what do you see? SQUARES, putting a bunch of squares in a new shape doesnt change the fact they are squares

Wait... (3, Insightful)

SpicyBrownMustard (1105799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830092)

He just "invented" JPEG too!

Re:Wait... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830222)

JPEG is discrete cosine transform-based. You mean JPEG 2000, which is entirely different despite the similar name. Anyway, it seems Mr. Kirsch is 10 years or so late.

Another World and Flashback: Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830114)

Another World did something similar to compress images -- building them out of shapes: http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/5052/407468-another_world1_super.jpg

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830118)

Seems these squares do just fine. And I suspect any issues with grids of squares can be fixed with higher and higher resolution grids. And manufactured sensors and displays will be using grids that will be uniform.

I wanted to read the article... (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830154)

...but I couldn't get past all the square pixels on the page.

He's sorry? Why? (1)

Henriok (6762) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830170)

He says that it was the logical thing to do, it still is! Keeping the pixels square makes sense in almost every computer science aspect I can imagine, and this guy have had 50 years of regret and came up with something that's comparably very hard to implement in scanners, memory, screens and software. Triangles and hexagons are two other ways he might have gone that's comparably simple, but squares are more intuitive. I think his contribution in the past was brilliant. He really should have no regrets.

Without benefit of square pixels, (5, Funny)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830190)

I would never have known that the Japanese have blurry genitals.

Analogue vs Digital (3, Informative)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830208)

This sounds like the ongoing debate between analog and digital audio. Everyone likes using images like these [ucview.com] during the debate, but given enough resolution (bits), the closer the digital audio will be to its original analogue (electrical) source.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (1)

thodelu (1748596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830334)

Throw more resolution at it or you could use slightly more complicated but finitely definable set of curves or shapes other than simple squares to better fit the analog signal.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830688)

Just put a low-pass filter on you digital signal, and Blam! you've got curves.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830880)

That image is simply false. That is not the way an audio Digital to Analog converter works. The signal runs through a lowpass filter, which reconstructs the portion of the recorded signal under 2x the sampling rate (usually 44.1kHz / 2 = 22.05kHz) perfectly smoothly. IAAAE.

I say Hexagons are the next step after Squares. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830240)

And that's not just because Civ5 is coming out soon...

Re:I say Hexagons are the next step after Squares. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830406)

I say Hexagons are the next step after Squares

Technically, pentagons are the next step after squares. Hexagons come after that. :-P

Re:I say Hexagons are the next step after Squares. (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830486)

Think of the new awesome realism this would give Settlers of Catan! Someone get this guy a patent.

Don't be such a.... (1)

jerryluc (1536513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830242)

square

See where we're going? (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830250)

Square pixels are easy to manipulate to be sure, so are single-core CPUs easier to code against, but the world is not perfectly right-angled. I'm now waiting for my flying car; which will use nano-morphing, variable shaped pixel in-car & HUD displays, and all controlled by a hella-core processor system running Hellabuntu. The sky's the limit! Or something like that.

I always loved hexagons (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830252)

But maybe that's because that's what we used in early games.

It does translate fairly well to an interlace design for scans, though.

So he invented image compression? (1)

nthwaver (1019400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830300)

That's what it sounds like to me.

TRS-80 Pixels (1)

Brackney (257949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830312)

Square? Not on my old Trash-80! Heady days indeed, populating that 128x48 grid of monochromatic pixels. The aspect ratio really screwed with attempts to generate graphics using trigonometry.

Re:TRS-80 Pixels (1)

Kamidari (866694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830414)

It'd be funny if modern computers still came with 1920x1080 (or whatever resolution you have) graph paper you could use to plan out your images, though.

Is he still trying (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830368)

to fit a larger baby image on his 1957 computer?
From what I get from the article for him it is like a day has not passed since then and things like image compression were never invented.
Oh, wait, that is what Alzheimer's does to you... I see...
Anyway, we should thank him for the pixel (and for it being square and not something ridiculous that would give us problems for years to come...).

Favorite graphic designer story (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830372)

Working in the web division of a semi-fine jewelry retailer.

graphic artist: Do you know computers?

me: I should hope so. Do you have a question?

graphic artist: Yes. It's with Photoshop.

me: Ok, I might be able to help. What's the problem?

graphic artist: Ok, let me zoom in here. You see what I have here? (zoomed in so that the pixels were big blocks on the screen.) Everything is really blocky.

me: Understandable at this view level.

graphic artist: Well, it's not working for me. I need to be able to get a smaller shape in here but it's all too blocky.

me: Let me get this straight. You want to get a shape in the image smaller than a pixel?

graphic artist: *beaming* Exactly! How do I do that?

me: I'll look into it. *slowly edged away*

And she was getting paid three times what I was. Things like this make me want to lock myself in the server room, trip the halon and wait for the blackness to take me.

Re:Favorite graphic designer story (2, Insightful)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830578)

Sorry to poop on the joke here, but it's a perfectly reasonable request and you do it by increasing the resolution.

Re:Favorite graphic designer story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830666)

You sir are a dumbass.

Re:Favorite graphic designer story (1)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830788)

Are you honestly suggesting that, by having more pixels on the screen, the picture won't be blocky when they zoom to the pixel level?

Re:Favorite graphic designer story (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830690)

It is not really that far fetched of a feature to request. You could simply have different layers at different resolutions and it would already work, you could also go the next step and simply keep all brush strokes vectorized or use some clever in between. I wrote an app [berlios.de] that could do that once, not practical as it wasn't optimized at all and thus got slower with increased image complexity, but fun to toy around with.

Re:Favorite graphic designer story (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830884)

Yeah, but it's like advertizing that your PCB has the USS Enterprise on it. No one's going to see it, at least not without an electron scanning microscope.

I mean, if we're talking Photoshop here, max zoom is what, 1600%? Maybe 2000%?

Sure, you can make another layer with a DPI of 20,000 or some hugely illogical number...but it's only going to look as well as it gets rendered.

So, for the car analogy, yes, you can extend the spedometer on your Geo to account for speeds of Mach 1. The engine still won't make it past 100 mph though.

Re:Favorite graphic designer story (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830814)

You should have explained the real solution: use smaller pixels. You can do that by adjusting the resolution in the Image Size dialog. Let's say she was at 100 dpi, she could change it to 200 dpi and have pixels one quarter the area of the originals. For every original pixel, she now has four. If she needs more, up it to 300 or more dpi.

4sponge (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830374)

Of reality. Keep of America (GNAA)

He's reinventing the wheel (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830394)

The configuration of the variable-sized "pixels" depends on the image, so you're not going to get a new screen with more detail -- this is for storing images. From what I can tell, he's doing a basic form of an old and well known compression technique ("macroblocks" in JPEG, H.264, and others) and calling it a new form of pixel.

also (1)

nthwaver (1019400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830418)

in one, a seam divides the mask into two rough triangles, and in the other a seam creates two rough rectangles

My digital alarm clock already invented that.

What?? I don't get it (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830452)

Can someone explain to me what this is about... The picture in the article looks pretty amazing, wow using these non square shaped pixels sure makes the face look clearer, but on closer inspection, it's made up of square pixels which are in fact smaller than the pixels on the left image. Look at the top left of the picture for example.

I'm sure if the picture on the left was resized to match the pixel density on the left it would look just as good..

Re:What?? I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830694)

Yeah, it's either pixel or vector based. The article example just seems to show a higher rez pic on the right side.

Re:What?? I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32830824)

Can someone explain to me what this is about... The picture in the article looks pretty amazing, wow using these non square shaped pixels sure makes the face look clearer, but on closer inspection, it's made up of square pixels which are in fact smaller than the pixels on the left image. Look at the top left of the picture for example.

I'm sure if the picture on the left was resized to match the pixel density on the left it would look just as good..


No, you don't get it. The image on the right is the output of his algorithm when fed the input from the left. He's essentially created/implemented a version of the TV/movie "enhance picture" command that everyone here always laughs about because it's "impossible"...

My opinion about this (3, Informative)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830508)

1) A pixel isn't "invented" by anyone. A pixel is just a concept that is so straightforward, like the wheel, language and adding numbers. It's not a question of which single person "invented" it. It's just a question of, once the technology is there, it WILL be used, no matter what.

2) What kind of screen are you going to use for that? Each pixel can have different types of pixel sizes so no screen could fit that. A square grid is the most uniform division of 2D space into units.

3) If this would have been about hexagonal pixels, I'd have found this cool.

4) At best, this is a new compression scheme for storing pictures - but certainly not a way to display them (see 2))

5) Non square pixels are not a new idea, see for example sensors of cameras.

Re:My opinion about this (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830736)

How could anyone gripe about having a square image sampling grid? I think at one point, they were going to make HDTV non-square. Thank FSM's appendages that we got a square grid.

Just a de-blocking algorithm at the pixel level? (1)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830582)

Perhaps it is a clever algorithm, but the summary and article make it sound like he is re-inventing the pixel. I don't think that is correct. The example shown starts with a square-pixel image, and outputs another square-pixel image, just at a finer resolution with less blockiness.

While it does appear to work, it isn't clear to me how much information can be inferred correctly. Furthermore, cameras often don't use square sensors to begin with, so this isn't directly applicable to the raw image format.

Square pixels is not the real problem (4, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830700)

The current problem is that on an LCD display, the Red, Green, and Blue pixels are adjacent to each other, not co-located. Coming up with a scheme to make all 3 colors appear to emanate from the exact same point would be a useful development.

Reference Implementation? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32830854)

While it describes the algorithm, does anyone know of a reference implementation that I can play with? The results are quite compelling!

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