With the students of our VjAcademy, we visited the ISE exhibition on visual technology earlier this year. Here they discovered a crazy foto booth with dozens of cameras all around. Of course, the students couldn’t resist having their picture taken with this device. We left our mailadresses at the friendly Berlin staff and basicly forgot about it.
Weeks later, crazy pictures like this started filling our WhatsApp group. Moreover, our members were receiving mysterious parcels from Germany. Who created these awesome, highly detailed action figures of ourselves?
An instant 3D model of yourself
Off course, the ISE fellas were behind all this. They also sent us zip-files containing something even more awesome: the digital data that they used for the small statues. This is exactly what our students needed for their experiments and pranks. If you know what you’re doing, Cinema 4D software turns this data into virtual characters. This is way faster and more realistic than modeling a person from scratch, at least for medium sized projects (for blockbusters and major games, a lot more software and labour comes in).
Making it move
Our student Shurly (Henk) certainly does know what he’s doing. Apart from bending our virtual mini mees in impossible ways, and creating silly clone armies, he also gave the models rigging: a skeleton that alows the 3D models postures and movements.
On the technology
The German supplier of the action figures and the data is a company called Staramba. They fit 75-150 camera’s in a custom made 360 degrees photobooth. The cameras feed 18 MegaPixel images to a computer, to be stitched together for use as textures in e.g. Cinema 4D. Also a stereo model is generated that gives you the 3 dimensional shape. Their business is primarily creating sandstone figurines of celebrities and the likes as fan merchandise, and selling entire photobooths plus software to 3D companies.
Technology to scan real stuf and create digital 3D characters is not new or unique, but it is evolving rapidly. A stunning case by ManvsMachine creating amazing 3D animals based on stuffed ones can be seen here . Also, there are several tools for smartphones like Trnio, Scann3D and the Google Tango product line.