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cg characters

cg characters

Virtual Characters in Entertainment

Virtual characters are being used in all aspects of entertainment from film to television to video games as we’ve seen in many productions over the last few years, and even in musical performances as in the famous Tupac halogram. Whether a character is modeled, 3D scanned or sculpted, they are in the production.

tupac-hologram

Virtual characters have been used to create heavy crowds of armies like in 300: Rise of an Empire, and the mob of zombies in World War Z. To create this, predetermined virtual paths (waypoints) are used based on our common movements and are randomly chosen to mimic real humans.

world-war-z zombies

Nearly all video game characters are computer generated (CG) with some becoming the main star through the use of Motion Capture (MoCap) and voice-overs, such as Ellen Page‘s character in Beyond: Two Souls, or the newly released Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare featuring Kevin Spacey.

Kevin Spacey, Call of Duty, 3d facial scan

Every year we inch closer and closer to bridging the gap between virtual and reality, and like all endeavors, change is inevitable. Stay tuned for more updates. The wave that is technology is something you want to be on top of rather than submerged in.

 

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Cyber Scanning and its Future

Cyber scanning, 3d scanning,  and lidar scanning are all popular terms being used right now, but do you know what the difference of each term is? Cyber scanning and 3d scanning refer to the scanning of people and small to medium sized props. Lidar scanning refers to large area scanning or vehicle and building scans plus landscapes and sets. There are also technologies that allow for CG pipelines to be condensed, which speeds up production time and saves capital, solving budget issues.

3d scanning before & after

CG elements are very useful and flexible to work with. When you are shooting a scene on location, afterwards during post production, characters, materials and objects can be added to the scene. If you were to 3D scan the entirety of an environment using lidar scanning, opposed to modeling CG elements, you would be able to add precise detail, as lidar scanning captures exact measurements. For example, if you were to click on two points in the scan data, you would know the actual distance from one wall to the next, or from the ground to the ceiling, or one object’s distance in relation to another object. This makes for a more believable effect, and allows you to destroy an environment in any way you want. Utilizing a lidar scanned environment will also allow an entire scene to be acted out on a green screen, minimizing travel time for the talent.

lidar scan, building scan, large area scan

This technology is also used in film. By having the characters cyber scanned, they can be used for a video game version of the film using the same exact characters in the same exact environment.

full body 3d scan

A film can be an immense experience. To take things a step further, imagine being a character in a film, opposed to watching the story unfold statically and safely in an armchair. Imagine having a free-roam 3D camera at your disposal as the viewer. As a scene plays out, you would be observing each moment from multiple angles as if you were really there. What if you could appear as an avatar in the film and could have this experience with friends online. The non-human actors could be programmed with AI to react differently depending on your dialogue and actions, making movies transform from one you’ve seen 100 times and can quote every line, to a dynamic experience that is free-flowing and rapidly changing before your eyes.

The meld between forms of media all taking advantage of the latest technology will create a seamless model to be used in film, television, commercials, episodics, or even game cinematics. Soon the same characters will be performing in over-the-web multi media or social media. The list goes on as digital assets with photo real characteristics find their way into our experience more and more every day.

texturing

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The Future of Visual Effects

Visual Effects are used more than ever in the entertainment industry. Each year more sets, machinery, props, and characters are becoming digital.

full body and lidar scanning

With the use of green screens and stand-in props, an actor can be anywhere in the world, fighting off monsters or flying an alien spacecraft. The character or prop can be scanned or modeled and then sculpted, or if you have the proper permissions, taken from another show and used again.

Before you know it, there will be a world of digital images accessible to the entire industry through a virtual library. Shows and projects will be completely computer generated from the characters to the weapons to even the locations. The human element will exist only through motion capture and voiceovers. Story generators exist today, but maybe in a dozen years such programs will develop blockbuster scripts. Perhaps there will still be a need for a director to make sense of it all.

mocap stage

What are we getting at? We believe that in the near future movies, commercials, and television programs will be 90-100% digital. Today, 3D scanning is used as a starting point to create a digital asset, but if our predictions become reality, are you ready?

3d scanning before & after

The cameras on set may be able to capture 3D scan data as well as visual color, allowing for the viewer to pan around environments in movies – to be able to basically be your own 3D camera flying around in a free roam – or to be able to have a viewpoint from each character in a 360 degree bubble.

 

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tng vfx locations

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