Oct 31, 2016 | By Nick

3D scanning experts at SnapTank have unveiled a series of high-quality zombie 3D models that you can download and 3D print. If you're not already too shaken up from this season of The Walking Dead (traumatizing!), the 3D printed and eerily realistic looking walker models could be a great addition to your Halloween decorations. 

What makes the zombie 3D models look so real? Well, SnapTank actually based their designs on 3D scans taken from two real actors dressed in zombie gear. While the online library for 3D models could have just come up with generic zombie designs, SnapTank's Community Manager Ross Martin explained that the company's employees are massive fans of the hit TV show The Walking Dead. It was for this reason that they decided to go above and beyond in creating photorealistc zombies.

Though well timed, the release of the 3D printable zombies isn’t a marketing gimmick thrown together just for Halloween, as the team spent three months working hard to get the best possible results Robbie Drake, one of the biggest names in British special effects make-up, came on board to turn the actors into convincing zombies. To do this, he used rubber prostheses and make-up to create gaping wounds and open sores.

“Creating the zombies for 3D scanning was the same as making them for TV or film,” said Drake. “At the moment, CGI just can’t beat practical effects. They’re too clean, the lighting is all wrong and it’s much better to create the effects and then use computers to enhance what we do.”

When Drake had finished working his magic, it was time for the technology to come into play. SnapTank didn’t just want to make awesome zombies for its community to download, it wanted to give them an insight into the world of 3D scanning and show just what is possible by using traditional techniques and a scanner to create the ultimate finished product.

“It was a serious challenge,” said Martin. “We had to have great actors, the best special effects make up and costume, a photogrammetry scanning rig, and access to high quality 3D printing services. Our aim wasn’t just to make zombie scans accessible and to show the potential of what can be achieved by merging 3D scans with 3D printing. But to give the 3D community an insight into how production quality 3D scans are produced.”

It seemed a waste to spend all that time getting the best results with the models and then compromise the details by using a substandard scanner. So SnapTank turned to Clear Angle Studios in London, which provided a photogrammetry rig equipped with 150 DSLRs all programmed to fire within a fraction of a second.

It’s just about the most accurate system that is freely available to the public and with 150 images they could stitch together an exceptionally accurate 3D scan. The studio specializes in turning people into 3D models and have worked on a number of action figures for the likes of Marvel Studios.

“Photogrammetry is perfect for capturing people because they move,” explains Matthew Bowler, Capture Co-Ordinator at Clear Angle Studios. “Even if you tell them to stand perfectly still then they will always move with their breathing and even blood moving through their veins. So you need to capture the moment in an instant.

“Zombies by their very nature have a lot of texture on their clothes and skin because they are dirty and, well, dead. The textures and patterns work really well, so we were always confident we’d get good results.”

For even better effects, SnapTank then sent the virtual models to Feed Me Light, a special effects and animation studio, to put the finishing touches on the models and create a finished scene. SnapTank's own 3D prints were made in partnership with 3D printing serviceDigits2Widgets. We haven’t seen anything like it produced before.” Ross said. “The quality is incredible. Right down to the teeth of the Zombie! We’re really excited to make the scans available to the community, and reveal a behind the scenes exclusive into how the scanning was achieved.”

All of this work does mean, however, that the zombies aren’t the cheapest you’ll find online, with a set of five downloadable scans going for $247.50. A single model, meanwhile, costs $49.50 and you can order graves, headstones and even a bin bag to accessorize your zombie centerpiece. Additionally, the models will be 50% off until the end of November.

These models aren’t cheap, then, but they are visually stunning and will bring your Halloween party to life. Or not…

Download the scans here.



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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