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Lidar Scanning

Lidar Scanning

Scanning for Facial Expressions

How important are facial expressions when 3D scanning a character? It may seem easy, but are we ever truly aware of what our face is doing when we are experiencing an emotion? What does a genuine sad face look like, or a happy face or an angry face? From time to time we are asked to capture facial expressions during a 3d scanning session, and thinking about the above questions, you can imagine how this task can become challenging. Furthermore, if the expressions are not previously selected, the talent is at odds as to which pose should be captured.

Viking_3d scanning_facial expressions

We’ve come up with a couple of solutions that we know can provide a smoother, more efficient session not only for us, but for the talent.

Solution #1

Review the scene that is calling for the emotion and create a list of possible expressions the character can portray to deliver a believable scene. You can also prerecord the talent acting out the scene to get a better picture as to which emotions you will need.

facial expressions, 3d scanning, viking

Solution #2

Create a list of common expressions/emotions your projects tend to use that you can provide to the talent and/or 3D scanning technician each time facial expression capture is needed.

These tips are simple and easy to implement. They may seem minor and commonsense, but in our experience working in this business, we have found that every little bit helps.


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What Else Can 3D Scanning Support?

Over the years we have been called in to work on a number of different projects needing 3D scanning. It is a fast and flexible solution for a number of industries that need to replicate an object or person. We have done scanning for sculptors needing a 3D scan of their art to rescale and/or print for distribution, which is one of our favorite things to scan.

3d scan sculpture

Torc the Boar

We’ve also tapped into the medical industry scanning prosthetics or parts of the human body to create a prosthetic. This can save a lot of time if a negative is needed and if the current method is casting.

In a fitness center or sports arena, there may be a need to scan a person on their first visit to track progress as they build or lose body mass, or as they slim down and tone up. This can also be done to attract customers by showing the results that can be acquired or what can happen if they do nothing.

Full Body 3D Scan

Industrial markets have been using 3D scanning more and more to double check their work, making sure all parts meet their specs. Plus, the scanning of a working power plant helps in the design of different strategies, like an emergency evacuation, part replacement and overall efficiency. They may want to use scanning to measure pipe volume to determine capacity or distance between parts to help find weak points, etc.

Architects use 3D scanning to help them understand the interior layout of a space or building to find out how to get a better visualization. The exterior of a building or home can also be scanned for historical design preservation, or to find out the exact measurements to build extensions or to enhance a design.

lidar scan_white house

3D scanning can even be used as an educational tool that provides a way for students to understand how to work with digital models, and to show them how to quickly create a more efficient work flow and a more accurate model.

3d scanning services, 3d printing

As you can see, the imagination is the only limitation to what can be done with 3D scanners. Of course the more accurate data you need, the better the 3d scanner needs to perform. Your 3D scanning service bureau would be more than happy to select the scanner that best meets your needs.


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tng vfx locations

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



Who Governs the Cyber Character?

There’s been controversy in the film industry over using cyber characters in a movie, or to finish filming using a cyber character if the talent passes away. We have been talking about insurance 3D scanning to insure a film will make it to the end in spite of interruptions or physical challenges. Most investors and those committed to a film or project will not easily accept defeat and allow the project to be shut down.


The passing of Paul Walker caught us all by surprise and we feel fortunate that we had the chance to meet and scan him for the film “Into the Blue.” He was delightful to work with; a great guy with a great attitude. As the filming continues for Fast and Furious, the need for 3D scan data is essential to finish the film. From a studio or producer’s point of view, anything can happen during post, and at some point they may start looking for a 3D scan of an actor because it is either too hard to get the talent back to the set, or too expensive, or both.

paul walker

This is the purpose of our insurance scanning, to have a digital double fill in with the occasional front shots. As technology gets better, it will be more feasible and more accessible. You will not pay to process your talent unless you need them. This keeps your cost down and you will have access to the talent, if needed. Win, Win!


We are always looking for new ways to improve this process for production. We have scanned several actors in the past during pre-production, prior to principal photography, which is less stressful and there is no rush. The actors can also go to the scanning studio at their leisure to be scanned.

Where’s your closest TNG location?

tng vfx locations

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

Where In The World Will The Next VFX Film Shoot?


Where, indeed! Another question to ask is, where are the best Tax Credits for Film and TV? It seems as though a business would follow the answer to that question as a way to create a great movie for the least amount of money.

Unfortunately, your past venders cannot follow you as quickly, so you will need to come up with a new strategy to stay in the game. How many law enforcement shows have we seen with the dialogue, “follow the money trail…?” In our situation, that is exactly what we need to do. However, you cannot follow it everywhere as films are going in every direction – Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and Canada.

We have decided one continent is good enough for us. We are claiming North America as our home base and Los Angeles as our headquarters. The US and Canada should provide a good living with English being the first language in most areas, which will be our first step in good communication, understanding needs and creating relationships.

USA and Canada

This does not mean we won’t travel elsewhere for a job, it just means we will put our marketing efforts towards North America. Using this strategy, we will be able to offer our customers the opportunity to claim the tax credit while continuing to film in the location. We will also find ways to have the work processed locally. We know this is quite the undertaking, but when you love what you do, you find ways to make it work.

We are also looking at new technology to keep the service fresh. You cannot expand while offering the same old stuff. You need to look ahead and visualize the next need or how to vastly improve what you did yesterday. All the answers lead to technology and how it will be the solution for years to come.


Which camera do you look at?

We say good luck to all our VFX brethren, and may we all help in making the biggest blockbusters hit the theaters in the future.

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



3D Scanning: Increasing Quality, Not Cost


3d scan, facial scan

Take a look at the ultra high resolution 3D scan in the center of the above image and compare it to the standard 3D scan on the right. Do you notice how it captures more detail around the eyes and lips showing clear and defined lines around the mouth and nose?  This comes from moving to a system that matches up to .1mm of the model as opposed to .5mm. You wouldn’t think it could make a big difference, but when you look at the images above you can see right away that it does.

Why is this important? Capturing as much detail in a scan helps modelers and texture artists create a digital asset that is a true copy of the original model or object. Using a reference photo along with a detailed scan allows artists to eliminate any guess work.

We are always looking for better ways to get the detail that is needed for production whether it is for film, television episodics, commercials or game trailers and cinematic.  As time marches on in VFX, better HD quality and working toward a better cost effective solution for characters that were 3D scanned is what they are looking for.

This all goes back to the three basic needs of production: a great price, a quality product and a short time frame. Providing only two of the three basic needs will leave you in the dust. As a 3D scanning service bureau, our challenge is to provide our clients with those three basic needs, all the while having the ability to be mobile. It is a challenge, but not impossible.  If you stay in one place in this industry you will fall behind. That is why we never stop looking for the latest in technology and continue to keep our company at the forefront.


Where’s your closest TNG location?

tng vfx locations

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