Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

Animation and 3D capture software

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So, last Friday, I had a little time in the morning to watch a tutorial.  My co-worker, Alex, had recommended this one, and she was right.  For those of you learning Cinema 4D like I am, this tutorial not only gets into UVW painting and pelt mapping, but is also a really great modeling tutorial.


So, I’m telling her how great this is, and she tells me that Greyscale Gorilla (the company that puts these out) is appearing that very night at a Cinema 4D/ live music event (SXSW, really brings all kinds of events out of the woodwork here in Austin.)

So I went, and it was a really good event. When I got there, a man named Nick (and unfortunately I can’t remember his last name) taught us a bit about using Cinema 4D’s cloner and animating spheres along a spline. I definitely learned a few things from that talk. And then the next speaker was a man named David Lewandowski who spoke about his use of Cinema 4D in a new music video. His talk was fun because it was the first time I’d seen anyone integrating this stuff into actual video to do special effects. And what really caught my attention was the 3D scanning software he was using to capture the actors’ faces into his 3D software and integrate it within the video.

Back when I was training with the craniofacial clinic at UIC, there was a lot of attention to 3DMD and working with CT and MRI data to get 3D data for both surgical planning and also facial prosthetic development. I have spoken with various anaplastologists over the last few years about this as well. So when this guy gets up and talks about how he pulled together this video on a shoestring budget and paid about $50 for some Russian software that he used to upload photos of the actors (all taken from the same camera), and got these seemingly accurate 3D models out of them, I had to ask him about it later.

He told me that the software was called Agisoft Photoscan, and that there is also an Autodesk product currently in beta testing called Photofly. The friend I brought with me to the event told me that some people are even hacking into their XBox 360 gaming consoles and managing to capture 3D data through the technology already present in those machines as well. I find all of this to be very exciting from the perspective of what potential it brings to a field like anaplastology where you have a strong need for accurate 3D information about patients, but not always the financial structure to afford the latest and greatest technology at every turn. This also opens the door to better international consultation. If all one needs on the spot is a decent camera and an internet connection, then better information can be sent overseas allowing for better preparation before a patient makes the trip in person. Possibly, you could even come up with a good temporary piece for someone to wear in the interim while they are waiting on their final prosthesis to be made.

I leave you with this short YouTube clip of someone playing with Agisoft’s software to capture movement.

And I’d better get going because there is another one of these little 3D get together’s tonight!

Written by Sara

March 13th, 2012 at 8:36 pm

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