In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs.
Hello everybody! I am Geoffrey, I am Belgian and living currently in Pensacola (2016). However, I have been in Denmark for 7 years near Copenhagen (2009-2016). This explains why most of my 3D scans come from museums in Copenhagen or in Brussels. I am a hobbyist 3D “artist” working mainly with Blender since 2009. I “met” 3D scanning in 2012 and fell in love at first sight! As a “real” job, I am an environmental scientist, but that is a whole other story!
So what about 3D scan and 3D CG, you’ll say! Here it goes– I always have been fascinated with 3D, VR, and AR! My first experiences were Flight Simulator 1.0 and POVray (yup straight back to the late 80s). I did use tremendous amount of different 3D software (3D Studio, 3DS Max, Houdini, Maya, LightWave), and never got good at any! I nearly give up until I got caught by Blender and I was back on track.
Same with 3D scanning! I saw many examples of 3D scanning back from the 90s. But all the 3D scanners where professional tools valued thousands of dollars, not even talking the computer you needed for. In 2012, I found first the Kinect from Microsoft. Some people succeeded to hack and made it a cheap 3D scan. And a bit later, I go caught by surprise by 123D Catch! A free on line photogrammetric software. And from there, I could stop myself going to the museum, taking hundreds pictures of sculptures and made finally my dream coming true: scanning the world! Okay, maybe not the whole world, but at least some bits and pieces.
What I really love with photogrammetry it is cheap, easy, and you do not need anything but time and a computer. So without further due, let’s jump in the procedure! Take your camera. You will prefer a rather small mirrorless camera (mine is Fuji X-M1) rather than a big DSLR. You are going to take hundreds of pictures, sometime in very awkward position and the last think you want is a heavy and big camera in your hands.
I took between 200 to 500 pictures of the model. I turn around by 360 with 20 – 25 degree step. So to make a full 360, I have between 15 to 18 steps. At every step, I also take 3 to 4 pictures at different height and angle, keeping the model in the centre of the frame.
Try to imagine you put your camera on a virtual sphere and camera is pointing at the centre. In addition, I might take more close up pictures to capture a specific detail (always taking 20 to 30 pictures at different angle and height per detail).You have to think your photoshooting like a panorama. So every picture should have something like 50% overlapping. Otherwise the software won’t be able to align the different pictures. Similarly, the close-up should not be to close. Always be sure to have a good overlapping otherwise the software will discard the picture. The lighting condition is also important. You want a diffuse shadeless lighting. Keep a f-stop relatively high (at least above 5) to keep the model AND the background in focus. To improve the quality of the 3D scan, check the pictures and discard the blurry one. Last but least, the software! I use either ReMake from AutoDesk or CapturingReality. Both are really good and will improve dramatically the quality of reconstruction.
And voila! It is actually very easy to make good 3D scan with photogrammetry with a bit of practice. I selected this sculpture because I like grace of the curve and also the mighty wisdom coming from the face and the posture. The clothes and the posture look so realistic, it almost looks alive!
Once the 3D scans were made, I ended up with tens of 3D scans on my computer. Nice but so what!? I thought it was really pointless to keep all that just for me. So I decided to find a website where I could upload the 3D scans and make them available for everyone. And after tried different websites (I won’t name any names), I found the best one for me was SketchFab. SketchFab allows me to easily and quickly share 3D scans with the community but also on other social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s very simple and user friendly, has cool features, and fast. I enjoy a lot playing around, experimenting with the shader, lights, post-effects, and I love it! Especially the post-effects can transform a somehow boring 3D scan on an outstanding piece of art! Really appreciate it!
Many thanks for your time. I really hope you find it useful. If you have any question or things you want to talk, please feel free to post in comment section below.
And I really want to congratulate and thank to the team at Sketchfab for making the cool real-time online viewer, you guys are awesome!