Jul 28, 2016 | By Andre

For some time now 3D scanning, especially when it relates to recreating the intricacies of the human face, has been limited in some ways. Whether its low-resolution capture or lengthy waits or cumbersome post-processing, there aren't many examples of a device that can capture all the details of the human face (and beyond) in just four seconds. The Royal Academy of Arts in London has recently begun experimenting with a photogrammetry system that takes 96 photos in rapid succession via an eight camera system. These images can then be processed into a digital 3D model, replicating every feature of the face in intricate detail. The results are something some of history's greatest artists would be jealous of no doubt.

Padre Justo Gallego preparing to be scanned with the prototype Veronica Scanner Image: Factum Foundation

The system (named Veronica after the Latin Vera (true) and Greek Eikōn (image) was specifically created for maximum realism in mind. Adam Lowe, the founding director of the Factum Foundation (who originally developed the scanner for medical purposes) notes that “for the first time, you get a sense of what you actually look like. Most people dislike being photographed because, whenever you see a photograph, you know you don’t look like that. It’s a bit like hearing a recording of your voice. These are portraits untouched by human hands.”

A miniature version of Padre Justo Gallego in sterling silver. This model was 3D printed in wax and cast in silver using the lost wax process.

As someone that has experimented with low-resolution handheld 3D scanners in the past, the want for more resolution is something that has been sought after for some time. And while this isn’t the first photogrammetry booth of its kind, the demonstrated captures are spectacular to say the least.

Every blemish, pore, wart and imperfection is brought in with the high-resolution capture technology that grabs over five million polygons per four second scan. Lowe continues that “the dream of the Greek sculptors in the past was to create a realism that went beyond subjective interpretation. Apart from the hair, which we’re still working on, I think we’re close.”

So lets say you’re at the Royal Academy of Arts, why would you want a 3D scan of yourself anyway? Beyond the cool factor of having a digital copy of yourself on the computer screen that you can share with all your friends or to make annual scans of your children as they grow, 3D printing is the most popular reason for a scan.

And it turns out that any number of 3D printers can be used so depending on the resolution or image quality you’re after, a hobbyist desktop 3D printer would produce results but high resolution SLS or full-colour sandstone reproductions would really do the scan the justice it deserves. Alternatively, you can always gold plate your spouses bust over a white alabaster toga like a London lawyer did as a gift from his wife. Heck, he even admits that “I thought it made me look rather better than I think I look.” Maybe it’s a better than life reproduction after all.

Of course, if you’re not in London to visit the device that looks like something straight out of an HG Wells story, there are photogrammetry 3D scanning service centers popping up in urban centres all across the globe, so odds are you don’t need to hop over to London to get a version of you that truly resembles, well, you.

 

 

Posted in 3D Scanning

 

 

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