Using an Artec Eva 3D scanner, developers of Bioshock Infinite were able to create and successfully bring to life one of the main characters of the video game. Featured in the internationally run television commercial, Elizabeth was scanned and processed in just one hour.
The actual creation of the Elizabeth character was a multi-stage process during which the Artec Eva 3D scanner captured a number of different expressions of Russian cosplayer Anna Moleva. Each facial expression was scanned, and then the 3D data was utilized to create the character and the official commercial for the game.
As technology advances, more and more video game developers are striving to make their games as realistic as possible. While they generally seem to find success in creating realistic scenery, cars, animals and so on, the limitations of creating realistic humans are apparent. Scanning a real person to create a 3D image really makes the game a lot more life-like, says Anna Zevelyov, director of business development for Artec 3D in Palo Alto, Calif.
“No matter how good of a [game] designer you are, you will never be able to draw a “photo-realistic” face. So that’s why they are now using scanners,” she says. “For example, if a scanner wasn’t used, a good modeler may recreate the shape of the face in about four hours by hand. It’s still not going to be as realistic as it could be, but it will be close. Then it will take about another four hours to create the texture and color information (i.e., hair color, skin color, how light reflects off the person, any discolorations. etc.).
She continues, “Overall, you could be looking at eight hours and it is still not going to look all that realistic. Now with a 3D scanner, you can do that in maybe three minutes, and you’ll have a photo-realistic looking person.”
The Artec Eva 3D scanner captures up to 16 frames per second and the frames are aligned automatically in real-time, which allows for fast scanning. In addition to the capabilities the scanner has for creating video game characters, it may also be used in a number of other industries, including the production of movies. Some recent films or franchises that utilized the Artec 3D scanner include Skyfall, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Chronicles of Narnia.
One recent, and perhaps lesser known movie in which an Artec scanner was used, was the 2011 science fiction film The Darkest Hour. In the movie, which depicts an alien invasion of Russia, 3D scanning technology was utilized to help create the effect of a person being disintegrated by an alien, according to Zevelyov.
“If you are doing this [disintegration effect] from far away, it is easier to make it look good. But if the person is really close up and you can see his/her face, it is very difficult to make it look realistic,” she says. “So again, if you scan a person’s body and feed that into the special effects software, you are able to do all sorts of neat things.”
In addition to 3D movie effects, the Eva scanner can also be used in a variety of ways for medical applications, such as plastic surgery, suggests Zevelyov.
Read more about the Artec 3D scanner.
-- James Carroll, Senior Web Editor, Vision Systems Design