3D scanning horror stories!

29/10/2016

With Halloween fast approaching, it is the perfect time to share horror stories… about 3D scanning!

You may have heard that scanning black and shiny objects is an absolute nightmare, and that if you try to scan a shiny object, it will never work… but fear not, for we shall solve all the mysteries and banish all your fears, once you see how easy it is to avoid those scanning “horrors.”

Jack-o-Lantern mask: appearances can be misleading

It just wouldn’t be Halloween without those bright orange Jack-o-Lanterns proudly displayed everywhere you look. If you are dreading having to capture a similar object and having to get all of the details just right, let us reassure you that it’s easier than it might seem, when you have an Artec 3D scanner handy. For example, this menacing looking mask of the face of Halloween itself was captured using a versatile Artec Eva, and it took just thirty seconds to scan everything, and only two minutes to process. Yes, this fast! No targets, no talcum powder, no mess, and no fuss. Just a great, lifelike 3D model!  So although some objects might look like they could be difficult to capture, don’t let that fear take hold of you, because most of the objects you will have to scan are going to be easy-peasy, and for those that might require additional preparation, we’ve got a mini-Halloweeny guide for you down below! Enjoy!

Pumpkin: scanning the interior of an object

Sometimes it’s not enough to scan just the exterior of the object. There may come a time when you will need to capture the interior as well. Do not be afraid, for Artec’s scanners can do just that!

This positively horrifying pumpkin, which got us right in the Halloween mood, was captured both inside and out. Scanning the inside of the pumpkin and its carvings, such as the nose, eyes and the mouth can be hard for some scanners, but definitely not ours!

Scanning the inside of the pumpkin and its carvings, such as the nose, eyes and the mouth can be hard for some scanners, but definitely not ours!

 

First, the exterior of the pumpkin was scanned with Eva and then the sharp edges of the carvings were captured with Space Spider for even greater precision. After scanning the exterior of the pumpkin, it was cut in half to capture the interior.

Those 3D scans were then merged with the exterior ones using the overlapping geometry and texture captured during the first scan, when the pumpkin was whole.

Artec handheld 3D scanners can scan almost any object both inside and out. The combination of Eva and Space Spider allows you to capture objects of various shapes and sizes fast, and in great detail. Artec Studio, our multifunctional post-processing software, can be used to accurately align the scans and create high precision 3D models.

Demon robe: scanning black and shiny objects

For most scanners, trying to capture black surfaces is a nightmare, let alone black AND shiny ones! This is because shiny surfaces tend to reflect the scanner’s light pattern, while surfaces with black color are hard to capture because they absorb the scanner’s light, making it impossible for the device to distinguish the pattern on the object. However, Artec’s scanners make it possible to accurately capture even the darkest tones. So scanning black and shiny objects doesn’t seem so scary anymore!

This terrifying demon wearing a black robe was scanned using both Eva and Spider by Second Chance Games & Visual Effects for an episode of the Sleepy Hollow TV series (©20th Century Fox).

Taking simple actions such as increasing the scanner’s sensitivity and slightly decreasing the brightness, made sure this truly terrifying demon came to life on the silver screen!

“The robe he was wearing was made of different fabrics. Some was mesh-like where you could see through it,” says Vic Holt, Vice-President of 2cgvfx. “To some degree it was shiny and black...two very difficult things to address in a scan!” A statement true for many, but not for Artec 3D scanners.

Taking simple actions such as increasing the scanner’s sensitivity and slightly decreasing the brightness, made sure this truly terrifying demon came to life on the silver screen!

If you are scanning black objects that are also shiny, such as black plastic or patent leather shoes, you can apply anti-glare spray in order to receive a clear and highly accurate scan. Hold the scanner at a 90-degree angle to make sure the projected pattern is more precisely landing on the object, making the scanning process even easier. Having enough light while scanning will also ensure easy and correct capture of the object. Using the “Real time fusion” feature of Artec Studio while scanning is also extremely helpful. This allows you to see your model being built as you scan, so you can check in real time that you are capturing enough data and getting great scans.

Dagger: scanning objects with thin edges/fine details

Having to scan thin objects can be scary, as in most cases, scanners find it difficult to capture them. As the area to be captured is so small on items such as knives, the scanner’s pattern is sometimes not projected in its entirety on the object.

Scanning objects with thin edges, fine details and a shiny surface to boot is twice as terrifying! Shiny surfaces, as previously mentioned, are hard to scan because they reflect the scanner’s pattern, making it difficult for the device to understand both the geometry and the texture of the object.

This extremely sharp dagger was scanned by Space Spider and as you can see there is nothing to be afraid of! This perfect scan of this cold weapon was achieved by following a few simple rules.

Having to scan thin objects can be scary, as in most cases, scanners find it difficult to capture them. Scanning objects with thin edges, fine details and a shiny surface to boot is twice as terrifying! This extremely sharp dagger was scanned by Space Spider and as you can see there is nothing to be afraid of!

 

Similar to scanning black and shiny surfaces, capturing objects with thin edges is improved by holding the scanner at a 90-degree angle. Should the scanner have difficulties capturing a shiny object, you can always use anti-glare spray and the “Real time fusion” feature of Artec Studio. In this case, it is not recommended that you increase the brightness setting. It is also important to remember, when scanning a shiny object, make sure to have a non-shiny object in the scanner’s field of view, such as a table, or any other background. This will help the scanner differentiate between the two and capture the shiny object more precisely.

When scanning thin objects or fine details, you may encounter certain difficulties, as not enough of the object’s surface is visible to the scanner: Firstly, you may have problems retaining the registration while scanning; Secondly merging the two flat surfaces of the object can be somewhat challenging; and finally, global registration of the scans in Artec Studio may be difficult to perform.

To make sure that thin objects are captured correctly, scan objects with thin edges on a background, and preferably one with a lot of texture. Also, to make sure that the object stays still, it is possible to fix it in one place by using tools, such as pliers. Despite the fact that the sides of the object is symmetrical, it is important to scan all sides, including the top. After this, the object can be aligned by its features, both texture and geometrical. It is important to remember not to remove the background and not to use the base removal tool, as the final result is made better due to the use of the geometry and texture of both the object and the background. For instance, to better scan the tip of the dagger, we stuck it through a piece of paper and scanned it like that for better registration.

Here is another success story. The ultra-precise Artec Space Spider was used to scan another popular Halloween character - a spider.

This was no ordinary spider though. With just one color to work with, repetitive surface geometry, and those thin and long, wobbly legs, each measuring 25cm in length, capturing it with just any scanner might have been a real issue.

To make sure we got a nice, clean scan, the spider’s legs were secured in one place and put closely together so that the scanner would have several of them in its field of view at once to provide enough surface for tracking and easily capture all the required 3D data. If you happen to have an object similar to those long, thin, and wobbly legs of the spider we scanned, don’t try to capture them separately, and make sure they are nice and steady to avoid any unnecessary movement, which may impact the quality of the final 3D model.

Also, for better registration, make sure you get as much geometry in the scanner’s field of view as possible. You can use other objects, of a background that has a lot of different colors or text, for example. Make sure you also experiment with the actual position of whatever it is you are capturing. Adjusting the position of your object just a few degrees can make a huge difference in the final results. Once we’d chosen the optimal placement of the spider, scanning took about 30 minutes, with another half an hour needed to process the captured data. Ta-da!

Werewolf: scanning fur and hair

It may be quite hard for some scanners to capture both fur and hair. The individual hairs are too small and thin to be captured, because, similar to objects with thin edges, there is no space for the scanner’s pattern to be fully projected. As a result, they need to be captured as one surface.

Prior to scanning, this petrifyingly furry werewolf had to have his fur brushed with a hairbrush to flatten it down a bit, making it easier for the scanner to capture the hairy surfaces. For this same reason, the scanner’s sensitivity was increased.

Artec scanners are fantastic tools for when there is a werewolf around and it needs to be captured in all of its horrifying glory.

 

The werewolf’s stylish patterned shirt also helped the scanner capture the beast. The combination of the flattened fur and the textured shirt helped 3D scan the werewolf in superb detail.

Another thing to watch out for when scanning werewolves (or people) with their hands up and fingers spread, is that they tend to move them slightly as it is tiring to hold them in one place for a long time. To make sure that you get the best results, scan the hand and fingers first, and then scan the rest of the body.

A few simple rules to remember when scanning hair or fur. Brush the hair or fur to flatten it. The scanner pattern can then be projected on the surface much more accurately, yielding a better scan. Artec scanners capture both dark and light hair equally well. When possible, make sure to have an object with rich texture in the scanner's field of view, when capturing hair or fur.

All in all Artec scanners are fantastic tools for when there is a werewolf around and it needs to be captured in all of its horrifying glory.

Magic potion bottle: scanning transparent objects

Similar to scanning shiny surfaces, capturing transparent objects can be somewhat of a challenge. The light from the scanner simply goes through the object, without having anything to reflect on.

This magic potion bottle was filled with a blue magic potion to reduce its transparency, and was then scanned by Space Spider in two stages.

Similar to scanning shiny surfaces, capturing transparent objects can be somewhat of a challenge. This magic potion bottle was filled with a blue magic potion to reduce its transparency, and was then scanned by Space Spider in two stages.

 

First, the bottle was scanned to capture its texture. During this stage of scanning, the sensitivity settings were increased and, to get the best results, the scanner was held at a 90-degree angle.

The second stage of scanning was aimed at capturing the geometry of the bottle. Here, the sensitivity setting was not increased, and anti-glare spray was used.

The bottle was scanned both upright and upside down for better registration and without removing the richly textured background. After combining the bottle scans made with and without the use of anti-glare spray, a perfect 3D model was created, showing the most intricate details in great quality. Feel the magic!

To scan transparent surfaces, just like with shiny ones, the most common thing to do is to apply anti-glare spray on the object. Other methods include wrapping the object in a tight plastic bag or placing targets on the object. To make it easier for the scanner to identify a transparent object with symmetrical sides, you may want to use a background with rich texture. This will help the scanner differentiate between the sides of the object. If the transparent object you are scanning can be placed in a freezer (such as a bottle), the frost will allow the scanner to capture the object. You can also fill the transparent object with colored non-transparent liquid. This will also help capture the object better.

Doom diorama: scanning difficult to reach angles and intricate detailing

Some objects may be overly simple, but there are also those that have complex geometry and intricate details, like this dramatic Doom diorama.

Coming in at 46 cm wide and 38 cm tall, this eerie handmade piece of art has loads of very fine details like the monsters’ claws and splatters of green blood. Because of its complex geometry, some of the object’s parts were either obstructed or hard to reach using only the Space Spider. And to make matters even worse, some of the diorama’s parts were made using shiny material. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Fret not, because we’ve got the solution. Two, actually; Artec Eva and Artec Space Spider.

We used both scanners to make this immaculate 3D model of the art piece. First, we had to get the object ready for scanning. To make sure that the glare off the diorama did not ruin our scans, we used some Cyclododecan spray after the initial scan, to give the surface of the object a matte finish, without using talc or any other messy substances. Cyclododecan spray is also great because it doesn’t need to be washed off. It simply dissolves on its own over a short period of time. Poof, like magic!

Once that was over, we used the Space Spider to capture the object. For objects like these, with hard to reach angles and intricate detailing, it’s important to think about the trajectory of scanning, as you want to make sure you get as much of the object as possible. Be sure you confirm how “deep” your device can capture data and supplement it with another one if necessary. After we got our data from the Space Spider, we used Eva to get even more quality 3D scans. Data from both 3D scanners was then combined in the powerful Artec Studio 13 3D scanning and post-processing software to create this amazingly detailed Halloween 3D model!

As you can see now, there is nothing to be afraid of! Grab your Artec scanner and scan away all you fears, for there is nothing that you can’t scan, including magic potions and werewolves.

Contact us