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Technology Is Accelerating & Helping Us Live Smarter

Usually we talk about 3D scanning and visual effects and how the two connect. But let’s take a moment and talk about technology today. Do you think we have seen it all? Look at where we are already. We can ask the devices in our pockets what the weather is, for a phone number, for directions, to send someone a text, and the list goes on. It takes us back to an earlier episode of Star Trek where Scotty tries to talk to a Mac computer.

star trekCars are finally starting to catch up with our expectations. Maybe we haven’t discovered how to make them fly yet, but they are driving themselves. Tesla has jumped out with their version of getting on the highway and letting the car steer itself, change lanes and slow you down before you hit the car in front of you.

tesla car

For those tailgaters not driving a Tesla, maybe the break lights will flash “SLOW DOWN.”

We’ve also noticed more cars coming out with parallel parking assist. By the time we have to give up our licenses, cars will drive themselves!

Another technology that could be coming our way is Corning’s vision of the future. In their video “A Day Made of Glass,” they highlight a multitude of benefits of having the ability to easily transfer video from one surface to another. Click on the picture.

A Day Made of Glass

We are in for some real treats in the not so distant future. In fact, we are getting little tastes of them now. For those of you that take some time to adopt to change, there’s always the option of moving to the country and living in a cabin. :)


Where is your closest location?

tng vfx locations

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

Click here to see our list of credits on IMDb.3d scanning services

When You’re Hot, You’re Hot

Building multi-layered 3D models, whether you begin with a 3D scanned model or a character modeled from scratch, takes a little planning at the start. The first thing to find out is if the character will be wearing layers of clothing such as a shirt, vest and jacket, and if those items will be removed during a scene. An example would be a character needing to increase in size with clothes ripping off or if they need to transform into an animal or monster. What will the under layers need to look like to make the transition more believable?


Our Fireman above has many layers. From his mask and asbestos shielding pants and jacket to his air tank, helmet, and gloves, there is a lot going on. (On a side note, just looking at their gear lets us see how truly brave they need to be.)

We 3D scanned this fireman in our studio in Los Angeles. Knowing we were going to build out a variety of digital doubles using this model, we first scanned him in his basic uniform and without facial gear.


Taking the raw scan data, we stitched it up and began building out and texturing the first 3D model.


We then scanned him in his more detailed firefighter uniform and gear.  Layer after layer we built him into the image you see below in his full get-up.


Layers are very important and help keep consistency with the character.

Another example of a character in layered clothing is a mobster-type, like the one pictured below. Sam is dressed in a layered suit, but could also have a gun and holster underneath. To add layers even further, we could include a tank top beneath his shirt and some tattoos.

full body 3d scan

The idea here is to first find the need for the character, then find out what small details are needed to keep the storytelling going?

We do our best during a 3D scanning session to point out the parts that should be scanned, just in case. It is more time-consuming and expensive to try and figure out what is needed the day of the shoot.


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tng vfx locations

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

Click here to see our list of credits on IMDb.3d scanning services

Roles In VFX

The role of the vfx coordinator is invaluable. They act  as the information hub between artists and production teams, and keep communication clear, discrete, and easily accessible.

information sign

When they are faced with a difficult or unexpected problem, they look to their resources for creative solutions.  And when a crucial decision needs to be made, they know who to present it to.

For production, vfx coordinators maximize efficiency by handling the day-to-day responsibilities and setting measurable goals which can help locate pipeline deficiencies, budget issues, and overall time management necessary for delivery.

3d_production_timelinesimage source: upcomingvfxmovies.com

For artists, they are a filter which helps create an environment that allows the artist to focus on the task at hand.

In the face of deadlines, coordinators will find creative ways to boost team morale in an effort to push them through the final arduous hours to delivery.

full body 3d scan_render with color

It is a very human role that requires poise and appreciation of others.  Coordinators understand the small components that go into a big production, and have great comprehension of how vital each step of the process is.  And in turn, how costly each misstep could be.

They help orchestrate individual strengths and celebrate the small victories, and they keep the path to the overall objective clear and focused.


Where is your closest location?

tng vfx locations

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

Click here to see our list of credits on IMDb.3d scanning services

Characters On The Move

If one or more characters needs to perform incredible stunts like jumping off a cliff or catching on fire, or if they need to transform into a liquid or a creature, creating a digital double of your talent is a great start.

viking 3d model, digital double

There are several ways to create a digital double or 3D model.

Option 1: Buy an already made 3D model online and use it as a template.

Option 2: Hire a 3D modeler to create one for you.

Option 3: Buy a 3D scanner and create one yourself.

Option 4: Hire a 3D scanning service bureau.

To start, find out the details about the type of model you need. For example, does the model need to be high quality or is a lower quality model ok?  If you need high quality, how detailed does it need to be? Will the character be wearing anything on their face or body such as glasses or gloves? Do you need facial expressions? Does the model need to be ready for rigging? These are some questions to ask yourself.

facial expressions for reference

Once that is sorted, if you decide to go with Option 4, it is a good idea to get several quotes from various providers. This way you can compare prices and see what you can get within your budget. Have the vendors give you a break down of each service included in the price and what is an additional cost. This will help you identify exactly what you will be charged for and not be surprised later.

As you are going through the vetting process, ask the vendors to send you samples of their work. What you receive will dictate how much work you may need to do on your end.  Find out how long it will take them to deliver the final model. Since everyone is on a tight schedule these days, the last thing you need is your VFX crew waiting around for the final model to complete a shot or segment.

full body 3d scan

Make sure to get references on the vendor you decide to use, if you don’t already know them.

Lastly, ask if they offer onsite scanning. If they are local, ask if they have a studio you can send your talent to if budgets are tight. At times there is no charge if you go to their location.

This is just a little insight we have gathered working in the industry. Good luck with your shows, films and other projects. Hopefully this bit of information brings you some luck.


Where is your closest location?

tng vfx locations

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

Click here to see our list of credits on IMDb.3d scanning services

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

The hot topic right now is virtual reality and the tools that support it such as the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard.

There’s also been some talk about augmented reality, but what is the difference between the two? Let’s see if we can sort it out for you.

Virtual reality (VR)
replicates an environment that simulates physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds and lets the user interact in that world. Virtual reality artificially creates sensory experiences, which can include sight, hearing, touch, and smell. (Wikipedia.com)

oculus rift

Augmented reality (AR)
is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. (Mashable.com)

google cardboard

That was easy enough. Maybe some examples will help.

VR:  As the excitement continues to rise for the release of the new Star Wars movie,
Star Wars: The Force Awakens , a couple months back an ‘Immersive 360 Experience’ was released exclusively to Facebook. Watching the clip through a VR headset, you are taken across the Jakku desert and have a full 360 degree view of your surroundings.

360 degree of jakkuClick here to watch. You will need to be signed into Facebook.

AR:  At SIGGRAPH Asia this year, one of the panelists was an AR researcher from Columbia University named Steven Feiner. In his interview with fxguide about AR in today’s world, he stated AR can provide us with “…information that is otherwise invisible be made visible directly in the real world context to which it applies.” (Click here to read the full interview.)

In this clip, Steven Feiner’s research group takes you through a procedural task using AR. You can see how it makes the procedure easier to complete and also cuts down on time.

AR procedural task AR Procedural Task

We can understand the hype around VR and AR. It brings new experiences not only for entertainment but for education and medical procedures. However, it is still in the development stage and in need of more content (which we’ve heard is not easy to create).

We’re betting on it though and hope to see some real uses for it in the future.


Where is your closest location?

tng vfx locations

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

Click here to see our list of credits on IMDb.3d scanning services