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TNG Visual Effects - 3D Scanning Services

Optimizing the 3D Scan Character Pipeline

Virtual characters are a great way to maximize story telling through visual effects. After you have decided which 3D scanning service bureau to use to scan your talent, the first questions you face are: Where? and When?

If you need to shoot in full wardrobe, perhaps the answer is obvious and just a matter of actor availability on set. For facial replacement, you might have more options for scanning either at the scanning facility, another location or on set. *Note: your scanning bureau should offer discounts for scans performed at their facility.

Once your talent is scanned, who will integrate the scan into the project? Most times, it will be more efficient and cost effective to have your scanning facility take the raw scan, clean it up, then re-topologize it. This process is also known as resurfacing.

swat team member, 3d head scanPhoto-Remesh-Normals-Color Map-Final

Resurfacing covers multiple areas of a character. The topology determines how the model will deform and which areas will have more deformation. It also determines how heavy the mesh will be. There is not one simple solution for resurfacing, and the process is a complex one and extremely important for the following reasons:

  1. Although a checker board pattern was considered the ideal flow for a character, it became apparent that muscles, creases, and body definition didn’t work in that pattern flow. For example, a grid pattern of one million polygons would work, however, you could get the same results with the topology following the anatomy and reducing the model to 250,000 polygons. That 75% reduction will also allow for more workability of your model. This is all part of the optimization process.
  2. Scan data gives the volume data. What you choose to do after that is a hallway of endless doors and possibilities. However, choosing the right one can make or break a pipeline.
  3. Another production friendly approach is the topology recycling technique. A facility will have the average man mesh that should work in most cases. Check with the riggers to make sure they can use it. If not, there should be an average man used in house that the riggers can work with repeatedly.

These are just some of the reasons why having a team on your side who fully understands body deformation, mechanics and anatomy is very important to obtain the best results. An efficient virtual character creation pipeline will help keep your project on track, on time, and within budget.

swat 3d scan, full body scan

 

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Lidar Scanning: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Lidar scanning is a common term that refers to the laser scanning of a large area such as a building, set, truck, train, or airplane. Lidar scanning technology is what we use to help us in our insurance scanning of sets.

lidar scan, 3 scan, building

Lidar scanning is a great solution for scanning buildings that have a storefront or intricate detail around windows and inviting entry ways. It can also be used to scan the inside of a building whether bland or more elaborate, depending on how expressive the architect wanted to be with their creation, and is well suited for complicated interiors, finishes and even sets.
lidar scan airplane, 3d scan
The transportation vehicles are also a magnet for this type of scanner. We recently went to Travel Town and scanned a train from the 1800’s. To make it an operative train, we had to model a lot of parts, but that is what is involved when creating a working model. Whether it is a slick Chevelle or an army tank, a 3D lidar scan can make short work of it.
3d scan, lidar scan train
We want to bring items to the market in a more affordable way and have been looking at building a library of ready to go images. We are also looking at a much faster process of replicating an object, building or vehicle. Our equipment is small and portable, easy to travel with and scans fast, however, based on the size and complexity of the scan, the time will be what is necessary. Contact us for more information.

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The Transformation Into True Fans Of Soccer

 For all you soccer fans out there, here’s a Coca Cola commercial we did some scanning for awhile back. Click on the photo to see what true fans of soccer looks like!
the mill, coca cola, transformations, 3d scanning services
[Video Source: The Mill]

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3D Scanning for Commercials

Here are a couple of commercials we did the 3D scanning for.

3d scan chevelle, lidar scan
toyota, commercial, 3d scan, full body scan

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What is the Cost of Insuring Your Digital Assets?

What are we talking about when we mention digital asset or 3D scanning insurance? To most, these are relatively new terms. Digital asset or 3D scanning insurance is having raw scan data of characters and sets from your project stored in a place that is easily accessible, and that can be retrieved and built, if needed. This is important from a cost standpoint, if nothing else. If you have a character who is injured in the middle of filming, or worst case passes away such as Brandon Lee in The Crow and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, you need to find a way to finish the project, and for your investors to have a chance at recovering their investment.

Perhaps a character goes through an unanticipated transition, or another shot popped up in post that needs a clean character face, think about the cost of getting that actor back versus the cost of reconstructing them. The same goes for sets, cars and trucks – all of these items could and can be scanned and archived in the event their needs come to fruition. Wouldn’t you rather have it in your back pocket than to think about about what it would cost you?

3d scan chevelle, lidar scan

The most cost effective strategy is to have a 3D scanning team scan all characters, props and sets while they are still on set, and while the set is still up. These scans can be archived and retrieved, as needed. Episodics are great examples because of their many characters. We have worked on a number of these and scanned one character at a time, as needed.

As productions get faster and budgets get tighter, more ways will be found to be efficient, to save money, and to get the data you need when you need it. A little planning and consideration of the possibilities give you options that can be the difference between staying within budget and going over. Ask us about our Digital or 3D Scanning Insurance options.

 

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