Nov 16 2012
When it comes to photography for 3D scanned digital assets, everyone has their own technique to get the job done. In the early phases of 3D scanning for VFX, photographs were looked upon as pictures purely for reference. As technology has advanced, and budgets have increased, high resolution photography now includes a much more extensive set up. This is necessary in order to obtain the best quality texture maps possible. There are many different cameras and lenses to choose from, although Canon and Nikon seem to be the most popular. Factors such as megapixels, dual memory cartridge units, and an array of other features are carefully weighed when considering the best equipment to use based on your market and other needs.
Lighting will make or break your photo. Here is another area where you must thoroughly define your needs. Considering the wide variety of umbrellas, soft boxes, and other choices, it may just make you dizzy. When shooting full bodies, we need even lighting that will accommodate a person up to 7 feet in height. Mylar materials with grids will allow you to capture a polarized photo, which will eliminate unwanted hot spots. Some companies will request ‘specular’ maps, which will call for the Photoshop experts or additional equipment. It can also be accomplished with one camera shooting through two lenses. You’ll need many test shots to help you find the best way to shoot.
We choose to shoot pictures in the raw format as well as jpeg. This gives us a chance to make corrections in the event the jpegs just aren’t cutting it. This (again) requires a Photoshop expert who knows how to get the best out of that format. The jpegs are also used as reference pictures for the contact sheet our customers will receive as they select their options of 3D scans to be completed.
The pipeline is key to getting what you need from the camera and a very good understanding what the project is calling for. The average photographer cannot jump into this type of work until they have a thorough understanding of terminology and the needs of Visual Effects.
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