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Running goals: Artec Space Spider raises the level of 3D digitization for ASICS footwear

Challenge: World-famous sports footwear manufacturer needed a way to obtain high-quality 3D data for digitization of their products.

Solutions: Artec Space Spider, Artec Studio, Geomagic Control X

Result: Ultra-realistic 3D models of sports shoes are created by combining 3D scanning with photogrammetry, ready to be used for quality inspection, as well as video and animated marketing content.

Why Artec: Not only can Artec 3D scanners digitize anything in soaring resolution without missing a spot, they also offer leveled-up photogrammetry for CGI.

A sound mind in a sound body

Wisdom and thoughtful positioning suggest that a brand name should also channel its philosophy. ASICS, one of the world’s leading sports equipment manufacturers, embraced this idea: the name is an acronym for the Latin expression ‘Anima Sana In Corpore Sano,’ by ancient Roman satirist Juvenal. This means ‘a sound body, in a sound mind’. Driven by this founding principle, the company put the idea of customized design at the center of their vision. Personalization of sporting goods and services aims to cater to every kind of athlete, providing them with care and performance at full capacity, all at the same time.


Ultra-realistic texture with luminous color

“We are constantly updating our technology, and believe we are creating products with world-class functionality. The fact that top athletes from around the world use our products is proof of this,” an interviewee from the company explained. “We will also provide value in the field of services based on the information developed through our research.”


ASICS’ digital tech team obtaining 3D data with Artec Space Spider

On a quest for the most advanced technology to create lifelike replicas of their products, the ASICS’ Footwear Digital Technology Team realized it was top-quality texture in product scans that they needed more than anything else. After some experiments with 3D scanning devices, the Digital Technology team discovered that their main challenge was not only to capture the running shoe both inside and outside, but also to retain the signature bright colors and unique textures. A research institute the team were in touch with suggested contacting DataDesign, an Artec Ambassador in Japan.

The main challenge was not only to capture the running shoe both inside and outside, but also retain the signature bright colors and unique textures.

While 3D scanning had long been the solution of choice, the 3D scanning device used previously proved insufficient because, among other factors, the texture quality was inadequate. Being the country’s top name in consulting and R&D for 3D services, DataDesign was at hand to offer a comprehensive demo that featured Artec Space Spider as the right solution to meet the project’s needs.

Thus the choice was made in Artec’s favor, and the journey began.

Pushing the boundaries with the new solution

A precision tool based on blue-light technology, Space Spider is famous for its ability to capture smaller objects in high resolution and brilliant color. There’s not a single detail that goes unnoticed when scanning with this device that truly captures every nook and cranny; the chance to use a handheld solution that delivers an amazing range of capture, in combination with photogrammetry, makes all the difference.

Their workflow is as follows: After a pair of shoes are made and are being readied for purchase, the team 3D scans a sample pair of them with Space Spider. This requires virtually zero preparation – the shoe is put on a mat and scanned from three different angles, then turned and flipped for full capture. While the 3D model is being constructed from scan data, numerous photographs are taken with a DSLR camera. The pictures are imported directly into Artec Studio, where the 3D model is mapped to the images for photo texturing. The team uses Manual Mode in Artec Studio for maximum control and flexibility.


The shoe is scanned from three different angles

The process varies slightly depending on the final usage of the scan data: If the team intends to use the resulting model for marketing purposes, it’s ready to go right after processing and applying photogrammetry in Artec Studio. This is simply because the texture is astonishing enough. If the model is needed for quality control, however, it may require some additional steps in Geomagic Control X. In this case the model is inspected dimensionally, and a report is generated in the software, excluding any possibility of inaccuracy.


Taking photographs with a DSLR camera

“Although the system is used to inspect the quality of products, the conventional method of manually measuring dimensions has sometimes resulted in problems with variation among operators,” explained Shintaro Nagata of ASICS’ digital tech team. “The bundle of Artec and Geomagic has made it possible to quickly compare 3D scan data with CAD data and eliminate variations caused by manual measurements, making it possible to perform accurate and visually comprehensible inspections, which is also helpful for improvement. It is also possible to automate the inspection workflow, which we believe will enable us to obtain more valuable information in fewer working hours.”


Applying photogrammetry in Artec Studio

Powering up in 3D

The final result is “amazing,” according to Nagata. The team says they enjoy the final stages of the process the most, with that feeling of complete satisfaction brought by how quickly the final model is created and how authentic and lifelike it is. The importance of high-quality texture is a demand of ASICS’ scientific approach to creating truly reliable products. Built for speed and progress, ASICS aspires to be one step ahead at every opportunity, so it is only natural that the team strives for constant improvement in their DNA, which extends into every aspect of what they do – from quality checks to retail sales.

The importance of high-quality texture is a demand of ASICS’ scientific approach to creating truly reliable products.

“Artec Space Spider can now prepare valuable assets with high-quality data, not just saving time and effort,” Nagata said. “In particular, we believe that the ability to create high-quality 3D data that can be directly utilized in marketing and sales activities will enable us to communicate the appeal of our products to our customers in greater detail.”

Specialists at ASICS are ambitious in promoting 3D digitization of ASICS footwear in the future: they plan to keep using Artec technology for both quality inspection and marketing, as well as to possibly reverse engineer new materials. The team is currently testing the beta version of the latest iteration of Artec Studio to explore the latest photogrammetry possibilities.

Much to their delight, the 3D models they are bringing to life are just as picture-perfect as their innovative, performance-enhancing originals.

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