Creating 3D Models for VFX with TNG Visual Effects

TNG Visual Effects scan technicians and artists know just what to do when creating digital assets from 3D scanning for use in film, television, or video games.

The scanning process begins as soon as the talent arrives at our studio (or we arrive on the location of our clients’ choice). Once everyone is settled in and our equipment is calibrated, we begin by taking high-resolution reference photographs. The quality of these photographs is critical to producing high-resolution texture maps at 2K, 4K or as high as 8K.

We use structured light scanners to capture the geometry of the talent who will become a photorealistic 3D cg model. The scanners create the digital models at up to a million polygons. Once the data is captured and created, we move on to the post-production process.

Create your digital assets with the right team and the proper equipment.

The first step in the post-production process involves ensuring the accuracy and integrity of the scan data. We align, stitch, and register the scan data. It is then re-topologized (the process of intelligently placing edge loops) in order to ensure the data is a manageable size for our clients, in addition to optimizing it for animation.

After re-topologizing the model, the team of artists at TNG UV the polys and then texture the model using the high-resolution reference photos. They will sculpt any additional details necessary to make the model worthy of the title ‘photorealistic.’ Accurate measurements are verified through the use of the scan data throughout the process. In the final stages of post-production, TNG artists will use various shaders and materials to produce the best looking render possible.

Good quality photorealistic looking 3D models can only be accomplished with a complete pipeline,  a dedicated team, professional equipment, and good coordination with clients to ensure they are getting what they want. Choose 3D scanning technology services as your number one source for visual effects assets.

http://tngvisualeffects.com 877.879.2040

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Who’s got character?

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There are so many different characters out there it will make your head spin. We enjoy finding new and unusual characters. They define life. What they bring with them and what they face every day fascinates us. These are the real characters of life. No prosthetics, no makeup. Just a face for the world to look at. This is the face we enjoy working with. A face someone is proud of, that has distinction. It carries a distinct imprint and also that aged look whether it is in years or experience. Now that’s a face!

Of course in this business, it is the project you face and do the best job you can. The tools afforded to us today give you the ability to get in close; see the eye socket structure, the corner of the lips and the lines within the lips, the scars on the face and even the wrinkles. The challenge with creating a new character is not 3D scanning the head and body, but rather the cost, quality and speed of delivery. I’ve heard some people say which two out of the three would you like, but it doesn’t have to be that way. My clients do not want to make that choice. They want it all.  That is what we aim to give them – everything we can to meet their needs.

In the course of preparing for the scan, it should be realized that the hair is the hardest part to capture. Whether using lasers or structured light, it is a challenge. I find, however, that most companies do not concern themselves with this aspect as they would like to build cyberhair to react with the dynamics of the scene. Therefore, we use wigcaps to cover the hair. This will give the character a bald or hairless appearance. A major advantage of this is that it helps us develop a better ear thanks to the process. There will also be some small issues like, sideburns, beards, mustaches etc, but we do find ways to make it all work to give you something that gets you the most realistic character possible.

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Facial expressions are also a source of concern regarding developing good facial performance. There are numerous choices out there and we are looking at several new ones to offer an even better product. In the meantime, we have employed a way to do it that serves most needs. However, the future is always changing, not only the way we look, but also the way we do things. This dictates the need to keep aware of what the market has that makes sense and works.

At Siggraph last month, I was watching the “Demo” of a product and the company was pushing a Siggraph special. The product sounded good and the price sounded okay until I asked what the regular price was and found out they didn’t know or didn’t have one, but I should still buy at the Siggraph special price. The second question was; if I did, can I bring the software with me or download it? That’s when I heard it hadn’t started shipping yet. This is not to say there are not other solutions, but beware of what you are buying lest your character ends up having a look of bitterness and rage.

  -Nick Tesi

http://tngvisualeffects.com

TNG’s Exclusive Interview with Tech Gaming 24/7

By Xavier Coleman

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the company TNG Visual Effects. Here is a transcript of the interview that took place.

TG24/7: Can you tell me a little about Mr. Nick Tesi, the founder of TNG Visual Effects?

TNG: Mr. Tesi has been a pioneer in the visual effects industry for over 25 years and is widely considered one of North America’s leading experts in 3D scanning, motion capture, and other visual effects technologies. A passionate innovator, Nick brings an incredible depth of experience and talent to his work. His relentless enthusiasm for creating unlimited digital realism in visual effects has made Nick a valued colleague at production companies throughout the entertainment industry.

Continue article here: http://www.techgaming247.com/category/features/interviews/

Your Virtual Ride

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What’s your dream car? Ours is the Chevrolet Chevelle. It’s a great car, even at stock. However, if you want, we can add to the basic 3D scan of the car. We can add things like a hood scoop, chrome exhaust pipes, chrome spinners, a big spoiler on the back, race stripes, or even a body kit. We can trick out your virtual ride until it’s just what you desire.

We prep and scan a car in about four hours. It can be scanned in your garage or ours, provided we have enough space and time. We can provide static or movable pieces on the vehicle if needed, such as a door opening, or the hood, or the trunk. As you can imagine, the interior is much more detailed and will take additional time and expense.

If you’re producing a commercial or movie that has cars, motorcycles, scooters, horses, tractors, buses, trucks, planes, or even trains, we can scan it. Once processing is complete, we can deliver a quad mesh, or a fully textured 3D model. We will give you a price that is more than competitive.

So bring your automobiles to TNG, and we will treat them like our own as we prepare your virtual copy. Remember, digital is forever

Replicating Your Environment

Create exactly what you want via TNG 3D scanning visual effects technology.

 

Have you ever stepped on set, and immediately wished you had a digital scan of it?  Or have you wished the set was still there after it’s been taken apart? You might think you need a time machine, but all you need is a 3D scanning company with the right tools.  This is why we provide a service akin to insurance scanning. It’s the same concept of scanning characters in the event that they become unavailable later during production. With insurance scanning, you can have the sets scanned, and the data archived in case you need it in post production. The same can be done for location shooting as well.

We can scan houses, buildings, and structures that may be on the location to provide you with the ability to add (or subtract) cleanly from the scene. Sometimes pedestrians or traffic may be obstructing a location, and in that case, we can scan in the middle of the night with our infrared laser scanners.

It is the customer’s choice as to what they want and when they want the final delivery. You may want to consider what type of format you want the data: be it a point cloud, a surfaced model, or perhaps a complete model with textures is your ideal delivery.

Consider using 3D scanning on your project. TNG can save you the resources of both time and money.

Are your characters breaking your budget?

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Are-your-CHARACTERS-spending-your-budget-.html?soid=1103007733068&aid=8eXGeCF7roM.

 

Bringing Your 3D Data to Life

Motion Capture and 3D scanning go hand-in-hand.  We are constantly looking at changes in the market and are currently working on a solution to facial performance capture. We are still in early testing mode, but are continually looking for ways to bring about a good looking solution that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

 For full body motion capture we are making alliances to work with some of the best mocap studios out there. This also helps us understand how to set up the 3d scanned character to better receive the mocap data. It is important to us to see the entire picture as opposed to taking a limited view that doesn’t include what the character will do once the 3D model is created.

As TNG proliferates the market within the US and Canada, we are also looking for local mocap studios as a source to recommend to our customers looking for that type of service. We also find out what type of rig will work best for them, but that also needs to be requested by the customer.

Other important issues we are working on to use in conjunction with 3D scanning and mocap are cyber cloth and cyber hair. As your character moves, everything needs to be in fluid motion to bring out the realism of the action.  All of these synergistic elements are dependent on each other to work together.

We are constantly looking for better and more extensive ways to help in the process of making your project stay in budget and on time. Other areas we are currently investigating include HDRI as a service as well as photogrammetry and supportive modeling. All these areas complement each other to supply you the data needed for your project.

The Environment is Our Stage Now

In Visual Effects we utilize 3D characters and props, but how about local environments (sets, buildings – interior and exterior), large vehicles (trucks, buses, tanks, airplanes, trains)? These too can be scanned digitally to create your location or asset, and be replicated or used as many times as needed.

Re-create the environment you need to use in your production with TNG 3D scanning services.

3D scanners, or the replicators of today, will be building inventories of digital assets for use in the future. Of course, there will always be a need for customized models of all sizes and shapes, but the option to use generic models should be able to give your show a better look on a smaller budget.

Until then, we are taking on the challenges of 3D scanning multiple buildings, very large animals, cars, buses, trains, and planes.  We are doing our best at providing a one-stop shop for all of your 3D scanning needs. The efficiency of having a team on site that can scan your talent, props, and then move into scanning the sets and other large items will be a plus for the 3D visual effects show. Budgets are getting tighter and the need is increasing for a cost effective solution that can show up fast, do their scanning, and then leave the location to advance on to capture other visual effects.

We are setting up satellite offices all around North America to service our accounts faster and more cost effectively.  In Canada, the tax incentives are great, and the studios and production houses and not willing to pass them up. Having a 3D scanning service bureau close at hand will help in lowering the costs and upping your flexibility to get all your scanning done without incurring travel costs. 

You will begin to see additional services in the future as soon as we feel our new products are complete and can fully service your needs. We guarantee our work at TNG.

Special Effects vs. Visual Effects: Our Changing Industry

The industry (commonly referred to as “The Biz”) is in a constant change of getting the public viewers’ interested in their story by using all of the tools available. All businesses experience this – constant change. Special Effects was the preferred tool of the trade for years with explosions, water tanks, and stuntmen diving off of buildings into inflated cushions. In the last 10-15 years Visual Effects has been coming into their own with water effects, fire, explosions and making digital characters fall off roofs, mountains, or catching on fire.

Special Effects with live action shots were faster and easier for the director to work with, however, to do a second and third take became difficult and expensive. Now with visual effects and computers, you can do the second take, make various changes, and get a whole new look that could not be done any other way.

Visual Effects also lets you break all the rules as to what happens to a character or object within a scene. Yes, over the years there have been many changes, and more changes are on the way. The most important part of visual effects is creating life-like models and their seamless integration to live action.  This is the real magic of everything working in synchronization. It also gives the movie makers and commercial innovators a more cost-effective method of building content. This should also have an effect on the insurance that a show has to carry becuase their talent or their stunt actor is not in danger.

 To create the digital characters and props, you could have them modeled, or use some different visual effects depending on how close you would like them to get the action. 3D scanning has become the quickest solution that gives you the ability to use in pre-visualization and in the shot.  If you are working on a franchise such as Spiderman or Ironman, the 3D scan can be used over and over. The same can be done with TV episodics,  commercials with several variations and with video games that have a number of iterations to serve their fan base. 3D scans also make a great asset to use in the event of changes in the cast for various reasons.

What Moves You?

Cars often require visual effects thus the need for digital models of cars. They’re a hot item for many video games, commercials and feature films. Vehicles seem to be our passion. Scanning cars is an exciting process. Previously, it had been a time consuming effort to maintain proportions and avoid any form of distortion. However, with our newer technology objects are captured with their correct proportions. This is accomplished when adequate time and space is provided upon the initial capture of data.

As culture changes, the cars change, and so we aim to provide high quality 3D scans. Our crew has a love for working on cars. There are a number of ways to get digital vehicles. You can get the Autocad files, and build off of the cad files provided, typically by the car manufacturer (though they’re not always available). We have heard some companies swear by them and their specs. Another possible avenue is to buy them off the internet. You need to be very critical here as they may not be the best models, but you may just find what you’re looking for. Lastly you can have them scanned, which is helpful if there is no cad data or model available.

We have scanned and processed cars, trains, buses, and planes. We’re able to scan most types of vehicles as size is clearly not an issue.  What may be an issue is time and accessibility. These are our requirements to give you the vehicle you want at the quality you want.

Likewise for buildings, both the interior and exterior, time and accessibility are vital to provide the quality data that you require. Our environmental 3D scanner takes colored pictures for reference, and we also do a photo shoot that will give you a texture map to be proud of, or at least excellent high-resolution reference pictures.

Using our low-profile laser scanner helps us stay mobile, and helps us get to those locations that you need digitally captured.  We’re even able to scan on ground that is not flat as we have an inclinometer that accounts for uneven ground. Give us a call. We’ll be charging our lasers so that when you give the word, we’ll be there to replicate your sets, vehicles and environments.

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