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TNG Visual Effects - 3D Scanning Services

Creating A Digital Double

What is the difference between creating a digital character and developing a digital character? Did you even know there was a difference?

It all depends on the expectation of the final product. To fully develop a character, especially if a well-known actor is in the scene, involves a much larger effort to create facial performance, cyber hair and cloth, and apply character lighting and final scale, all the while making sure it is an exact match to the original talent to keep a smooth transition.

For example, if the digital copy you’re working on is the main character and needs to be on the screen for a long period of time, such as Brad Pitt’s character in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, then a lot of time would be spent on matching the digital copy to the actor. If the character you’re creating needs to jump off a building, transform into something, or burst into particles, then less time would be spent on perfecting the details and making sure it was an exact match, but it would retain having the illusion of being perfect.

Here’s how we do it. 3D scanning the character is the first step, but you must also do a photo shoot of the talent for reference photos. The next essential step is the photo acquisition of high resolution textures with and without polarization. This will help create more accurate Ambient and Specular maps to be used later in the texture mapping process.

3d scan_full body_lidar_large vehicle and building

The model is then delivered with flat textures (or no lighting values). The production house has the option of adding those values in later when matching the plates. They can also incorporate different types of shaders to match skin such as Subsurface Scattering to give a more lifelike or realistic look to the digital double.

3d head scan, digital character, scarf

As the craft develops, it will be hard to tell the difference between the real character and their digital double. There is still a lot of work to be done on the fully digital character to act alongside real characters, but the day is coming and facial performance, mocap, and digital doubles will all come together with lower costs and time lines of creation.

Until then, we do our best on this quest while servicing the needs of the entertainment community.

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tng vfx locations

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

Using Photo Real 3D Scanned Models


A good artist can now create a photo realistic model using 3D scanning equipment. There are a number of 3D Scanners on the market today and it seems like the price point is starting to come down. Are you considering purchasing a 3D scanner and letting the graphics department take it over? Here are some things to think about:

  1. Will you save time if the scanning is done in-house?
  2. How long will it take to replicate the model?
  3. Are there skillful artists on your team that can create a photo realistic model?
  4. How often will you need the technology?
  5. If it is only once in awhile, is it better to outsource the work?

Technology is ever changing and skills can be forgotten, so using a 3D Scanning Service bureau can be beneficial. They use the equipment often and have experience handling break downs on set, working quickly with the talent and double checking the data to make sure it was captured and backed-up correctly. Another benefit is that you can typically get a 3D scanning service to do blend shapes to capture different expressions of the talent.

Facial Expression Capture, 3d scans

The idea is to capture the talent very quickly to avoid needing to reschedule the scanning session if the talent is available a limited amount of time. We have found that if you are working on a project, like an episodic where visual effects are frequently used, it may be more effective to capture the talent once in a swimsuit or bodysuit and reuse the data with the appropriate outfits created in software.


Where is your closest location?

tng vfx locations

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

Replication: Cashing in on the Digital Asset

Sets, vehicles, rooms, interiors, props, and buildings can all be digitally created for the making of a video game, TV episode, or film. The resolution can be increased for films and decreased for games. Even with additional adjustments, each asset will be well worth having, especially if you can use it more than once.

full body and lidar scanning

Modeling buildings with ornate exteriors can be time consuming projects, and when comparing costs and benefits, producers found 3d scanning to be more accurate and with a faster turnaround. Choosing to use a specialist in 3D scanning can enable you to put more detail and further strategy into your production.

Vehicles are a hot item on the list of objects to create digitally using 3D scans.  Is it worth the cost to destroy them in a chase or lose them off the side of a cliff? Remember to factor in the cost of stunt drivers, insurance, wreckage removal and permits. Using 3D scanning in this situation could make the project more successful. Be sure your VFX production facility or game developer will use the 3D model fluidly in the scene.

3d scanned chevelle, lidar scanning

The ability to create many types of digital assets by way of 3D scans is here and ready to be used in your project. Put them in from the start (in Previs) and get your trailers ready. It’s time to get the most out of your digital assets. If your project is going into several entertainment genres, use your digital assets to serve you time and time, again. Now let’s go capture some data!


Where is your closest location?

tng vfx locations

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

Happy New Year from TNG Visual Effects!

Happy New Year everyone! This year has been a prosperous one for TNG and it’s been a blast being a part of many new and ongoing shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sleepy Hollow and Once Upon a Time. Thank you for giving us a great year! To celebrate New Year’s Eve, here’s John Legend’s music video Made to Love that we did #3D #scanning for.

John-Legend-Made-to-Love, 3d scanClick here to view the video.



Where is your closest location?

tng vfx locations

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

Insure Your Talent via 3D Scanning

Have you ever reached post-production with your project and wished you had a 3D scan of your principle talent? Sometimes things happen on set, like the director has a new vision, or the talent has an emergency or just went off to his or her next project, and you need a production-ready 3D Scan of them.

3d head scan

Consider getting your star talent 3D scanned in pre-production or during principle photography, or anywhere else in your production cycle. The cost is not high, in fact, it can be inexpensive with custom options, but ultimately the data is invaluable when the time arises where it would be to your advantage to have an accurate and proportionate digitally scanned character.

3d head and bust scan

The process is fast and easy. The 3D scanning team will efficiently be in-and-out of your location in minimum time. You will then receive a contact sheet of images that represents your 3D scans to select what you need. Call us for more details on 3D scanning services or view our web site: tngvisualeffects.com.


Where is your closest location?

tng vfx locations

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