Whether you need sculpting, modeling, or scanning depends on the cost plus time equation. Our research and experience in the 3D scanning industry has revealed that ‘the time it took an artist to model’ versus ‘the cost of scanning’ was almost equal. The only difference was that the project was completed in about half the time when scanning was chosen over modeling. If time is money then 3D scanning is clearly the most cost-effective way to go.
The scanning process will give you the ability to scan a great number of people, quickly and in a single session. It is always best to plan a 3D scanning session early, perhaps even in pre-production, or when you have the required talent, props, or other items to be scanned available. You will get the most out of your models when you plan them from previs to post production.
Remember, there are few artists that can replicate a person quickly and with incredible detail. If you have these types of artists in your network, you should regard them as valuable assets. Most companies will take their modelers and put them on other aspects of the project to maximize their resources. This also gives the artists experience to increase their skills in other areas of the post-production process. The sculpting then comes in handy to quickly enhance the model for finishing.
No matter which method you choose, it is best to think of scanning, modeling, and sculpting as complementary. These various methods aren’t competing with each other. Ask your 3D scanning company how they can save you valuable time on your next project.
The Cost of Creating Character
You chose visual effects because you know you can create anything, as long as it’s in your budget. Need photorealistic 3D models? Adding in mocap or necessary services needed to make your project come alive may make your budget seem bleaker than you originally thought.
Let’s say you’ve got 10 characters that need to be 3D scanned. You want these in high enough detail so you can start using them for tests, trailers, etc. It already feels like it is going break your budget. We’ve got some suggestions to help you get the data you need.
Partner Up – Best case scenario. You’re developing the game while the film is in production. From concept, to post, these projects will maintain fluid replication and you’ve got someone to split the costs with.
Quantity Discount – You remember this one, right? The more you spend, the more you save.
Data Storage – Not sure exactly what you want in digital? If your production has potential for any possible scene changes just have your 3D scanning service provider scan anything you might possibly need as a cg model. Order the data when you need it.
Head Scans – The 3D scanning service provider that specializes in photorealistic heads can give you a good, clean model, quickly. Then, you can take the fraction you’ve saved and use other specialists to finish the work.
Raw Scans – This is an option as long as the VFX facility you choose to do clean up and textures has a pipeline compatible with scanned models. Are their costs any less than your 3D scanning service provider?
If none of the options above are beneficial to your project, talk to your 3D scanning service provider to determine how they can customize your order to help you. There could be other bargaining chips out there that you haven’t considered. Get the conversation started and figure out how you will get the best with your budget. Great characters are worth it.