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TNG Visual Effects - 3D Scanning Services

What is 3D Scanning?

3D scanning is becoming a favored service by several industries such as entertainment, medical, crime scene investigation, and merchandising. It can be thought of as a type of photography in which you capture a person, object or scene in 3D, allowing for it to be rotated 360 degrees. You may also projection map photos on to whatever you have 3D scanned thus making a true to life in-color 3D replica that can be inserted and composited into any form of video or computer generated (CG) render.

Lidar Scanned Charger

To scan an environment, a type of 3D scanner is used that emits lasers for measurements and 3D reconstruction. This is called LIDAR, and will capture what is called a point cloud of 3D data. Accurate measurements of the real life scene will copy over to the 3D data, allowing for correct proportions, and to have an entire environment converted to 3D. This data can be used for many things, and will allow for use of 3D cameras, which are not under any type of real world constraints.

lidar scan of old building

It’s becoming more common for the main cast of a film or episodic to be 3D scanned for visual effects purposes, which include stunt work and digital manipulation through the use of 3d shaders and texture maps. Green screens are used to switch out the background on a set and allows a location to be anywhere, likewise a 3D scanned object can be inserted into any location.

For 3D scanning humans, white light technology has many advantages. It is safe, fast, and transportable while still capturing dense accurate data. An alternative is to use photogrammetry, in which DSLR cameras capture the data, and that data is fed through software with complex algorithms that can interpret the photos from 2D to 3D by having enough variety of angles for overage, determining X, Y, Z space.

3d scanning, lidar scanning

Regardless of the type of 3D scanning used, there will be post-processing to clean up the data and to fit the data into a quad shaped mesh over the 3D scan data. This will make the data more flexible, allowing for sculpting, UVs to be applied, and texture maps afterwards. At this point, the 3D object or person can be rigged (inserting digital joints/bones), and then animated either like a CG cartoon with plenty of squash and stretch, or like the real world characters like you and I.

Ultimately the result is of a 3D object that is a replica of their real life counterpart. It can be used in a CG scene or a real life scene by compositing it in. The viewer will be able to experience the performance, and may not even notice when the 3D effect is on screen. This art is becoming more seamless and allows for an array of creative choices that at one time wasn’t even possible.

Where’s your closest TNG location?

tng vfx locations

We welcome your feedback! Comment on our blog or visit our Facebook page.

The Freedom of Motion Capture

Over the last several years Motion Capture has taken the entertainment industry to a whole new level. Imagine The Lord of the Rings without Gollum or The Planet of the Apes without Caesar…hard to do. There are a number of systems out there that can capture motion using Optical Cameras and/ or Mechanical Cameras to create motion, and as technology evolves there will be a dozen more options to choose from.

As you begin the planning and creating of your next Motion Capture project, there are three additional elements that factor into the equation: time, quality, and cost. These three parts can feel like you’ve entered into the Devil’s Triangle, but we assure you, there’s always a way to achieve everything your project calls for.

motion capture, perception, noitom

We have been working with a company called Noitom that has taken a new direction with Motion Capture. The system is inertia based and eliminates the need for an array of massive cameras and instead creates an active area of capture. This does not mean that optical systems are not mobile, however, there is a lot more work to transport and room them, as well as setting them up. Although this may not be of concern on a very big project due to their reputation for great quality capture, if your project calls for one, two, or three people to be interacting in a smaller area, an easy to set up inertia based system may be a good fit.

Perception, motion capture

We are exploring all the capabilities and doing test captures to give you a fast and reliable experience. Once the markers are in place there are just a few calibrations and you’re off capturing incredible moves that you want to see in your project. The idea with this system is to have the moves planned and practiced ahead of time so you know exactly what you want to do and can move through quickly. Not to simplify things, but if all is done right from the start, it will be a more stress free experience.

Where’s your closest TNG location?

tng vfx locations

We welcome your feedback! Comment on our blog or visit our Facebook page.




Do Your Characters Stand Up to Photoreal Expectations?

It seems you need to achieve the impossible to amaze your audience. With so many options to get your talent or star to the big screen, you may choose to go the digital route by giving the character the ability to fly, fall off a building, freeze, burst into particles, or whatever creative way you can think of to make the character stand out.

facial expression, 3d scanning, pirate

Moving in that direction, there are still a number of choices. You can either have the character modeled from scratch, have a maquette of the character created, use a stunt person, animatronics, or 3D scan the person. The fastest and most effective way that we’ve seen is to 3D scan. A 3D scan actually creates an exact copy of the talent and can be used anytime during the film or project. The talent can also be scanned in a swim suit, or in form-fitting fitness clothes and can have different outfits built around them.

full body 3d scan, full body poses


This works well in an episodic for television or for a series of films like Lord of The Rings, The Twilight series, or Harry Potter. In the event a shot is needed and the talent is unavailable, another approach we like is the concept of insurance scanning – scanning everything you could possibly need and then archiving it until the need arises. This insures that there is always a way to finish the project.

These assets can also carry over to the interactive field or perhaps the creation of a video game made from a film concept or vice versa. Why not reuse assets? The producer may even find a way to make small VFX budgets work.

full body 3d scan

These are just some ideas on how to help keep future budgets in check. We are always looking for ways to reuse assets to stay relative to the project or to build a library, which speeds up production.


Where’s your closest TNG location?

tng vfx locations

We welcome your feedback! Comment on our blog or visit our Facebook page.



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