UVLayout UV mapping unwrapping unfolding Laser texturing
Interview with Denis François Boland
Co-creator of Polygonal Design (2/3)

Interview by Sonia Barkallah

3D Studio, ancestor of Autodesk® 3DSMax®, 1994

UNFOLD3D® version 4, 2004, 15 years ago already

[S.B.] : How did you decide to create POLYGONAL DESIGN ?
[D.F.] : In 1995, I met Josiane Lemoine, co-creator of POLYGONAL DESIGN. At that time, she was an industrial designer and used the AUTOCAD® software for her work. She also showed me the ancient 3D STUDIO® software, ancestor of AUTODESK® 3DSMAX® today marketed by AUTODESK® Company. A few years later, the company did away with her job, so I proposed to bounce back by creating a company together, and so in 2001 POLYGONAL DESIGN was born. I had become a teacher, and as the French Ministry of National Education had just created the Multimedia Incubator Belle de Mai, I led this business creation with this structure and the support of the Business Incubator Marseille Innovation. The initial project of the company during its first years was to propose innovative pedagogical strategies based on a technique of geometrization of knowledge (Cotolouette Project, based on the production of hyper-documents). Half a dozen Rectorates supported our proposal, but after three years we felt that the time had come to concretize the name of the company on a project directly related to modeling in 3D synthesis.

[S.B.] : That's when you created UNFOLD3D® ?
[D.F.] : In 2003, one of my teacher colleagues suggested that I examine the work of her young son, who had produced a first coding of the UV unfolding algorithm that Bruno Lévy and his fellow researchers had designed and perfected. The work in question was very rudimentary, with only the unfolding function, and full of coding anomalies, mostly that caused memory overflows. Coding did not tolerate modeling clumsiness (for example "butterfly scheme") and was too demanding on the correct topology of 3D models to unfold, and sometimes it took several hours to unfold a model of a hundred thousands of polygons. But it was nothing compared to one or more days of manual work and such software was a major breakthrough indeed ! Although there was still a lot of technical work to do, I proposed a collaboration that led in 2004 to a definitive transfer of all intellectual rights related to the software called UNFOLD3D® and all of its future evolutions, and this collaboration continued, reinforced by the developers of POLYGONAL DESIGN, until the end of 2015, allowing to conclude several important contracts with companies such as SOFTIMAGE®, AUTODESK® and AGIE CHARMILLES® (Swiss group GFMS), which I personally negotiated, all of them, and which brought to UNFOLD3D® a magnificent reputation. On the occasion of my PhD in Physics, obtained in 2012, I had been able to further improve my numerical computation skills (discretization of the Schrödinger equation and with the Feynman path integral approach for the Stark effect formalism in the spectroscopic lines of hydrogen - Visual FORTRAN language). Therefore, I took over in 2016 the production of source code for our projects at POLYGONAL DESIGN, together with new co-workers (Matthias, Ivannah, Claire, Sophie and then Elodie).

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