Sketchtalk: AVATTA

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Have you seen AVATTA’s scans on Sketchfab? They’re amazing – I especially love the Harajuku Girl Haruka. I set out to learn more about the people behind it, and ended up in Tokyo (well, my email did). I talked to Rowland Kirishima who is the owner of AVATTA, a company of four people.

Harajuku Girl Haruka by AVATTA on Sketchfab

Hello Rowland, can you introduce AVATTA to us?

Well our company, AVATTA is brand new. I’m actually an established commercial photographer here in Tokyo. I’ve been always interested in high tech and for the past year, 3D has been my primal interest.

I’ve thought about starting a 3D capture studio using Xbox kinect but upon further research, photogrammetry (especially Infinite Reality) caught my attention. I asked Nikon to lend me 50 cameras and started testing the system in May. Thanks to many information on Agisoft’s Forum, I was able to successfully capture high quality 3D scan so I’ve decided to invest in starting a new company. Our main goal in business is not just making figurines, but very real 3D avatars that can move. We are still experimenting, and things are looking positive.

We charge $400 per scan plus a portrait photo for free. We also sell 3D prints but we outsource it. We also give our customers link to Sketchfab. Most 3Dcapture studios only offer figurines so we are unique in that way.

What does your setup look like?


We use 84 Nikon D5300. 7 cameras on 12 autopoles. We use superclamps and cheap tripod heads to mount the cameras. I position the cameras quite evenly.

My lense setting (I use the kit 18-55mm) is set on 25. After many tests, my conclusion with shooting full body 3D scan is to shoot the subject with similar focal length setting. Originally, I thought it would be better to get details (like the samples that infinite reality has on their website) but soon found out that it is better not to get too close and try to get consistant looking photos throughout.

The biggest challenge is to get the USB working. The problem with Nikon D5300 is that the USB cable is not common type and its hard to find 3rd party vendors that makes them. The other thing is using the right hub. We use Ankers 7port USB3 hub which has indicators when its connected properly to the computer.

We hook up 2 hubs to one computer since I run out of resource when trying to connect more than 20 cameras to one computer. So We have 5 computers hooked up on gigabit LAN network. We recently upgraded to Smartshooter 3, which works like a charm.

The Nikon D5300 is great because it has wireless remote shutter that can shoot as many cameras with one click of the button. We sync the photos by shooting 1/8 sec and delaying the strobe a bit using pocketwizard. Making a shutterbox is the other alternative but believe me, its a pain in the butt.

Mirano Midorikawa by AVATTA on Sketchfab

How do you light your models?

I use 8 comet strobes with translucent umbrellas on four corners. Try to bounce the light as evenly as you can. Flatter the light, less shadows. Ceilings, walls, and floors should be all white. But you should have detailed matte floors. Shiny floors is not good for the software. Agisoft Photoscan is the preferred photogrammetry application.

Masking your photos using empty background photo is better than not masking in most cases. Since we have more than 80 images, we automate our task using renaming software using scripts. Finally, make sure your subjects are not wearing black or white. Translucent, shiny clothes, glasses, jewerly are not recommended. Try to keep your subjects as close to the center as possible. Also, hair should be compact as well.

Smartshooter is a photoshooting software allowing many cameras to be tethered (most softwares allow only one camera to be tethered) My favourite is Harajuku Girl, and Mirano Midorikawa We charge $400 per scan plus a portrait photo for free. We also sell 3D prints but we outsource it. We also give our customers link to Sketchfab. Most 3Dcapture studios only offer figurines so we are unique in that way.

Thanks for sharing all that info Rowland!

If, like Rowland, you’re interested in 3D scanning, then check out our forum where you’ll find members sharing their own 3D scanning tips as well as our weekly 3D Scanning Thursday challenge.

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