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TNG Visual Effects - 3D Scanning Services

Capturing Larger Digital Assets

3D scanning smaller objects has become a pastime for companies to conquer. To have the quality you need in the delivery schedule can still be a challenge.

3d scan, lidar scan, dodge charger, vehicle scan

Larger items such as cars, ships, trains and planes come with a whole new set of challenges. You need the data, but this 3D scanning crew needs some time. If it is an exterior set or an interior set, it should be scanned before it is taken down. There may be use for it in post or for inserts. Think of the cost of needing it and not having it, and what would the cost be for a work around or having to rebuild it? It doesn’t hurt to have a scanned image of the set on standby, just in case.

lidar scan, 3 scan, building

Of all the large objects to scan, cars are the easiest. You just need to figure out what the cost of crashing and destroying it is versus the cost of using a virtual car that looks like your hero. Plus, if the director doesn’t like the shot, it can redone with minimum expense compared to buying another car (and there are transformations and other VFX shots that would make your movie viewer wonder how was that done!).

Whether you are creating models from scratch or 3D scanning existing objects, the digital asset world is growing. Companies we know prefer the 3D scanned route for a more accurate and efficient delivery, especially when the vehicles are larger like trains, tanks, airplanes or ships. Bigger and faster is getting to be a good part of  our business. Let us help you get what you need.

3d scan, lidar scan trainFull Scale Train


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When And Where Will You Need 3D Scanning?

You are in pre-production building a game trailer or a commercial and you need a 3D scan of one or more characters. However, this is production and their availability is not clear yet. You are trying to get the project details nailed down, but contractors are looking for dates that you can commit to as part of their planning strategy.  This can be stressful!  So many things to do without getting jammed up at this point.


behind the scences, 3d scanning full body, props

We are constantly working on this issue by keeping our systems small and efficient to respond to last-minute needs, or to follow the needs of production and fly out at the last minute to scan talent. We have built crews that can go in multiple directions, plus cover dates that allow for time off. It is a challenge, but also a necessity to get the data you need in the time you need it without having your 3D scanning crew sitting on site for days, costing you part of your precious budget.

LiDar scanning on site, ship

The next part is delivery of the product. How much of the project can be delivered, and how fast? In providing you with a full solution, we deliver clean raw data or re-meshed data with UV coordinates and texture maps plus Zbrush sculpting to bring out that fine detail to give it an extra realistic look. As far as the speed of delivery, there are a number of variables such as how many projects we’re working on, the deliverables, and the requested detail. If we get good guidance as to your needs, we can pull it off.  We need at least 3 days on a full body, which is normally 5, but if you need it fast we will do all we can to accommodate you.  If you have a bigger job, we will take on a new crew for your project.

Like all other businesses, we need to make decisions on how to service our industry. We know we have an industry that is very organic and requires flexible scheduling for unseen problems, but this gives us an opportunity to utilize our resourcefulness and creatively finding ways to be more flexible and alleviating the stress on your behalf.


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3D Scanning: Buildings and Sets

We are often asked if we can do Lidar scanning, which is large area or building scans, or set scans for movie sets. This also includes cars, trucks, ships, planes, fields and general outside areas.

Let’s look at one type of project scanning – an old time movie theater. We first ask for photos of the theater to get a good scope of the project, then sign the NDA’s, bids, and contract to move forward. We study the building to plan how we will scan it. The first image is a raw file of the scan, in fact a point cloud of the image. We take all of the images scanned and stitch them together to create the object.

Early Stage of Large Area Scans

building scan, raw scan point cloud, surfaced triangulated mesh

In the second image below, you can see that we surfaced the data. Basically, it’s connecting the dots and making triangulated poly’s. This is not a finished model, but a place to start and set up the model for delivery. Most companies we have worked with will take the model from this point as it is – an Obj file that’s ready for re-meshing and texturing.

Second Stage of Large Area Scans

retopologized mesh, textured mesh, lidar scan, building

This shows a very easy and basic set that may help you evaluate your options for your next production when scanned buildings and other objects are needed. The same techniques would be used for a train, an airplane, or any other large structure. There may be some clean up and modeling on parts or areas that were obscured from the scanner which we will do before delivery to give a full scanned and surfaced model.


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tng vfx locations

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Is 3D Scanning Hair Impossible?

At TNG Visual Effects, we’ve developed a new method of 3d scanning for hair. This is quite monumental because it is widely known that scanners have difficulty with hair due to it not being a solid object, among other problems.

The type of hair we can scan will be static, and cannot be animated, but would serve as good reference, or in cases where the hair will not move in a scene. Granted, for humans, it is necessary to manage the hair with a cap or such in order to fully capture the ears. Hair may also be found on props such as rope or a mask. Animals are mostly covered in hair, and should thus capture more easily. We’ve also come across many outfits for production that have hair. As we step into the future, we’ll be debuting new technology and techniques with the intent of nothing but stellar results.


3d scanning hair


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tng vfx locations

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