I first found out about Lagoa when I visited their booth at SIGGRAPH this year and talked to Jason Brynford-Jones about their platform. What jumped out at me was that the solution allowed rendering to be done on the cloud where they can take advantage of massive processing power, which I know would make my life much easier.
There's a lot more to Lagoa though, and I tracked down CEO Thiago Costa to discuss some of those specifics. We talked about the details of their platform as well as how web-based workflows and productions can and have changed things for individuals and for the industry as a whole.
ProVideo Coalition: Tell us about Lagoa. How would you describe the product and the company to someone unfamiliar with both?
Thiago Costa: Lagoa is a web-based platform for 3D visualization, rendering, collaboration and interactivity. The application runs entirely on the cloud via any browser, and without any plugins. Lagoa allows 3D artists, designers, architects, engineers and marketers to collaborate in real time while producing spectacular photo-real 3D content. The Lagoa API allows developers to create fully customizable web-embeddable 3D experiences.
I started Lagoa in 2012 with my co-founders Arno Zinke and Dov Amihod with the vision of making digital 3D content creation available to everyone, everywhere. The render engine was built from ground up by our team of scientists in Germany and includes physically accurate materials and lighting for photorealistic results. The web-based application and platform were built in Montreal. We are continually growing Lagoa’s functionality with new features, materials, lights, etc. The company is based in Montreal with additional offices in Bonn and Boston.
Can you tell us how being web-based impacts individuals and workflows?
Real-time interactivity. Being web-based allows Lagoa to provide interactive photoreal experiences of 3D content. Anyone who has ever sent a colleague or customer a rendering knows what they hear next: “What does it look like from that other angle? What if we change the color? Can you make it brighter?”. Lagoa content is dynamic, and provides the user and the viewer the power to actually interact with the content in a realistic way, all via the browser.
Web-based co-editing and decision-making in real time with Lagoa is a game-changer for workflows – it drastically simplifies and accelerates the creation and approvals process.
Other important impacts are performance, quality, accessibility and collaboration. What makes Lagoa so transformative is that the quality of the image created is no longer dependent on the user’s licenses, the size of their machine or their OS – it is dependent on the creativity of the user. With Lagoa, anyone with an internet connection can have access to powerhouse rendering and speed.
We believe that this is the start of a revolution in how spectacular 3D content is made and engaged with.
How does the system compare to other solutions that are out there in terms of performance and capability?
Our proprietary rendering engine was built from the ground up and optimized for the cloud. The speed of Lagoa’s real-time progressive rendering is unparalleled and really needs to be seen to be believed. When we show Lagoa to a new user, their first reaction is always, “Wow! How did you do that? Is that really running in the browser?”
Lagoa comes pre-loaded with dozens of physically-based measured materials and real-world lighting options. Users can fire off multiple shots to render in the background while they continue editing and rendering the scene in real time. Rendering no longer sucks the life out of your computer, no matter how small it is.
The best part is that Lagoa’s performance is independent of licenses and hardware. Updates are made available as soon as they are ready so users are always working with the latest version. There’s no need to buy new hardware to get better performance – Lagoa scales with your demand.
Utilizing a collaborative effort is obviously a big part of Lagoa, so can you talk about why collaboration is so important for individuals and facilities of all sizes?
Real-time collaboration in the cloud is really a transformative way of working. Gone are the days of emailing files back and forth and trying to merge modifications and comments. Now, all contributors in project can work together and give feedback in real time. In Lagoa this is more than chat. Lagoa allows for collaborative editing – like Google Docs. Once you get used to working in this way, it’s incredible to see the time that’s saved in getting to a result. This applies not just to individuals working together on other side of the globe, but also to large organizations that require input from multiple departments (design, marketing, sales, etc.).
Is there a learning curve to get familiar with and in turn start utilizing the solution?
Our goal is to make the user interface familiar to 3D professionals, yet accessible to the beginner. Experienced users know the menu items they need and can quickly find their way around the Lagoa UI. Beginners are finding that by using our support tutorials they can quickly get to success. But what is amazing is to see young users trying Lagoa for the first time. They jump right in, start collaboratively editing scenes and saying things like “hey this is like Google Docs for rendering, cool!” They get it right away.
How does your recent acquisition affect your current plans?
The acquisition of 3DTin was a way for us to continue building on our vision of making web-based 3D tools accessible to everyone. We’re excited about supporting 3DTin’s community of young creators, hobbyists and makers who are interested in building their own models for 3D printing or other creative projects. The acquisition will also allow us to expand Lagoa’s scene editing capabilities.
What kind of developments with the software can users look for going forward?
Our short term objective is to make the current Lagoa platform the best that it can possibly be. There are a number of avenues that we are developing at this time, including adding basic animation, improved scene editing, better sharing/social collaboration features and new technologies that allow users to do more of their creation workflows in the cloud directly, in a much faster and scalable way. We’re excited about the future of Lagoa and we can’t wait to see the reaction of users as we start rolling out these new features.
Where can we learn more?
You can sign up and get started right away for free via our website: http://home.lagoa.com/
You can see our support documentation here: http://support.lagoa.com/
Or you can join our community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lagoa3D and Twitter: https://twitter.com/lagoa