Scanning pizzas straight from the oven with Artec Space Spider

Challenge: An advertising agency needed to create an ultra-realistic 3D pizza for use in an animated advertisement campaign for a nationwide pizza chain.

Solution: Artec Space Spider, Artec Studio, 3ds Max, Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, ZBrush

Results: In just minutes, after being taken from the oven, each pizza was scanned with a handheld 3D scanner. The scans were then processed and exported for further development by the advertising agency. Shortly thereafter, the animated ads were featured on TV and the internet.

When a delicious pizza fresh from the oven is in front of you, probably the last thing you’ll think of is 3D scanning it. But that’s exactly what one 3D scanning specialist in Poland did. Hours before, his client, the NuOrder advertising agency in Warsaw, received a call from Da Grasso Pizza, one of the country’s most-loved pizza brands.

Da Grasso wanted to create animated advertisements for their various styles of pizza, but there was one problem: how to make the pizza look as mouth-wateringly good as it does in person. 3D modeling was quickly ruled out since it wouldn’t realistically portray all the organic shapes and surfaces of a Da Grasso pizza and its many possible toppings.

Fresh from the oven and ready to scan – a Da Grasso pizza and Space Spider

That’s when NuOrder understood that 3D scanning would be ideal for the project. They reached out to Warsaw’s Artec Ambassador 3D Master to explain the requirements of the work. 3D Master has years of experience with a broad range of 3D scanning and 3D printing applications, including CAD design, technical consulting, and more.

For the Da Grasso Pizza project, ten pizzas would need to be captured in high-resolution color 3D, with enough detail to showcase every slice of pepperoni and juicy onion, a sliver of mushroom, and more, not to mention the golden-brown crust slathered with layers of melted cheese.

Space Spider scans of Da Grasso pizzas

Licking his lips in anticipation, 3D Master’s reverse engineering specialist Adam Rajch knew that Artec Space Spider would be perfect for the task. With an accuracy of 0.05 mm, and able to capture incredible levels of detail in a single pass, the handheld 3D scanner has proven itself as a scanner extraordinaire for small objects in fields as diverse as quality control, reverse engineering, healthcare, forensics, and beyond.

Once the day of scanning arrived, Rajch got down to business. The photo studio where the scanning took place has its own oven, which made it possible for the pizzas to be scanned at just the right time. Seconds after emerging from the oven, Rajch would carefully divide each pizza into eight equally-sized slices, making sure to separate them by approximately one inch (2-3 cm), to allow for sufficient capture of the pizza edges.

Still from a Da Grasso Pizza animated advertisement

From that point, it took a total of 5-7 minutes to scan every single surface of each pizza and all those irresistible toppings. No sprays or targets were used for the scanning. Yet because the cheese was so juicy, occasionally making the surface too reflective to properly scan, Rajch had to gently dab the pizza with a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. After that, the scanning proceeded smoothly.

Following the scanning, Rajch processed the scans in Artec Studio software. First, he used global registration, followed by sharp fusion, then mesh simplification by accuracy, and hole-filling as needed. All that was left was to add on the texture, and the 3D models were ready for export as OBJ files.

Still from a Da Grasso Pizza animated advertisement

Once the NuOrder advertising agency received the OBJ files from 3D Master, they immediately set their creative wheels in motion. Specialists in short, 3D product and character animation for TV and movies, they’re often called upon to deliver big-budget results at affordable prices for sales and marketing campaigns.

NuOrder’s team of animation specialists used 3ds Max, as well as Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, and Zbrush to build upon the ultra-realistic 3D models and prepare them for the animation sequence. The loose elements of the pizzas, including arugula leaves, olives, and cherry tomatoes, were added in separately.

Still from a Da Grasso Pizza animated advertisement

The Creative Director of NuOrder, Daniel Dudek, described the project as follows:

“We collaborated with 3D Master to create the 3D pizza scans needed for the Da Grasso advertising spot. The challenge lay in the fact that the pizza had to not only look appetizing, but the file sizes had to be optimized so the models would be easy to work with and eventually animate. Because the client is a pizzeria chain, photo-realistic and aesthetic results were top priority.

Dudek continued, “Ultimately, the 3D scan turned out to be better than the photoshoot of the physical product itself. To say the least, we are very pleased with the results.”

The results, as seen in the video below, speak for themselves.