Scanners 3D

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Darryl Revok: ConSec had hardware & contacts. Keller could see the future.
Cameron Vale: The future? You murdered the future.
Darryl Revok: That’s negative, Cam. Defeatist. You’re starting to sound like them.

Industrial Research has developed a hand-held 3D scanner that quickly creates realistic 3D models of crime scenes, movie sets and large objects, reports New Zealand’s Stuff. The Scene-scanner, developed with advice from another company, Right Hemisphere, can be waved over a scene or object like a can of spray paint, going slowly over areas of interest to create high-resolution images, and quickly over other areas to create a rough picture.

The scanner, still a prototype, uses a digital camera coupled with an on-board laser to calculate the distance between the object and scanner, cross-referencing readings with targets that are placed around the scene to tell it where it is in the room. It’s apparently something like Vexcel’s D-Cam, used by Microsoft’s Virtual Earth to create digital image overlays. Simple 3D lists other 3D scanners often used in product design and the movie industry.

The scan can be rendered on a computer while it is under way, letting the user decide whether to go into greater detail, or redo parts of it.

The end result is a 3D computer image, true to colour and texture, that can be rotated or used to create “fly-throughs” of a room.

The scan of the mannequin (right) consists of more than one million geospatial data points mapped to digital photos.

It took about two minutes to produce. Other 3D scanners are either built for imaging small models or are fixed in place, meaning they must be repositioned several times to scan large objects. The Scene-scanner will be the first that can be moved freely around an object or room to get into nooks and crannies, Industrial Research says.

The goal is to sell the scanner internationally, but it is still two years away from market. The prototype needs to be wired to the computer that renders the 3D image, but the finished product will be wireless.

Meanwhile, motion tracking is now thoughly embedded in movie and commercial production with 3D models (mostly) impossible to distinguish from reality.

Motion Capture is moving beyond the Vicon system (with markers on the face), to paint on skin. Image Metrics is working with Rockstar Games, to provide their patented marker-less, computer vision technology to incorporate performance driven facial animations in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (for the PSP) and Bully (with a hot kissing scene).

Maya software pioneered powerful, integrated 3D modeling, along with animation, and rendering for film, television, games and design visualization. Z Brush works like clay model building while Boujou enables fast and robust automatic tracking and Realviz tracks dots on the body. Apple’s Motion for Final Cut lets you play back, move, and resize video layers and even lets you assign parameter behaviors to MIDI knobs and faders. Stray Cinema is an online community where you are able to download and re-edit the raw footage from a film.

Alex Lindsey of Pixel Corps produces two terrific podcasts; The Effects Show and This Week in Media. It’s an insider’s view of the industry, focusing on the latest technologies used in movie-making.

How long until point and shoots include laser scanners for creating 3D models of your loved ones for 2nd Life? Maybe sooner than later.

Just ask Ray Kurzweil.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, November 21st, 2006 at 1:33 pm .

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