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3d scan process

3d scan process

The Process Behind 3D Scanning & Processing Data

There are clear cut differences between 3D scanning a human character and a hard surface object. When 3D scanning an object, you will receive precise and accurate measurements because an object does not move. A person, however, cannot remain entirely motionless which results in creating an alternate way of 3D scanning a human to locally obtain tight alignments that provide good measurements. Larger objects require larger 3D scanners or at least larger 3D volume boxes, which are calibrated for their size, and thus a smaller 3D volume box has less chance for incongruities.

3d scanned sunglasses

To begin with the process of 3D scanning an object, reference pictures are first taken which aid the 3D modeler, 3D texture artist, and during final QC (Quality Check) to make sure the 3D object matches the real life counterpart. After the object is 3D scanned (sometimes multiple scans are needed), the scan data is aligned and fused together. A good alignment requires some pre-requisite factors such as having overlapping data and choosing intelligent places to start and stop scans as well as the angle of the scanner at the time of the scanning. Once the 3D scan technician acknowledges they have as close to 100% coverage as feasibly possible, the scan is complete and can be processed.

3d scanning before & after

Processing the data can take a longer or shorter time depending on the resolution needed. The higher the resolution you work with in 3D, the slower the process. It’s much easier to work with 5,000 to 500,000 polygons versus 5 million to 50 million polygons. In fact, when working at such high resolutions, decimation (or multiple) must take place (and at the right time within the process). Once the scan data is processed and decimation has been executed, the 3D modeler can begin their work. With the use of the images captured from the professional photo shoot, along with a perfect silhouette and scale of the item provided by the 3D scan, the modeler will 3D model out the many components and unwrap the geo for the 3D texture artist.

lidar scanned vehicle, 3d scanning

The texture artist then paints the object (or projects images) as well as paint seams of where the UV coordinates were cut. The completed texture is given back to the 3D modeler who will bring out further detail through sculpting. As the model is finished off, the normal maps and displacement maps are generated. These maps provide multiple ways for the 3D model to be viewed; taxing the render engine less and proving a higher quality result.

 

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Working with Children and Animals is a Breeze…

Scanning children and animals is the real fun part of our work. They come with no pre-conceived notions and go through the process without much complaint. However, if you are not patient with the wonderment the talent finds in the new experience, it can seem annoying.

full body 3d scan

As you do your best going over the process they are about to go through, you will find that both child and animal will have the same reaction of tilting their head and looking at you quizzically. Eventually the child will partially understand, but the animal, well, it will only be interested in its next treat.

3d head scan

Children are a lot easier to work with than you can imagine. They like to ride around on the turntable and as long as there is not real distraction, like seeing their shadow on the wall, they will stay still long enough for you to complete the scan. However, if you are on set, bring a book and your patience as the children have a lot of duties like mandatory tutoring, nap time, etc. It’s a bit different than working with an adult.

3d head scan

Animals are a different story. Everything depends on their attention span and how well they were trained. They react to their trainer but are unfortunately distracted by mother nature at times. We have found the smaller animals tend to be more nervous and don’t have the highest attention span, and although they may have been trained, they haven’t necessarily been trained to stay still.

Another factor is the type of hair the animal has, which can be a deal maker or a deal breaker. If the hair is smooth and evenly layered, it makes it workable and helps create an environment for a great scan. But, if it is more like a Pomeranian, you will need to get the clippers out!

The most sought out animals to scan have been dogs and horses followed by cats and a few other slower, more lethargic animals like the Elephant.

3d scanned animal_elephant

Where’s your closest TNG location?

tng vfx locations

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