Expert 3D Scanning & Modeling 

Photo-Realistic Digital Doubles
Photogrammetry Specialists

3D Scanning North America from
Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta,  Vancouver BC, Toronto ON, Montreal QC

November 2017
Volume 9  Issue 10

Click Here To View TNG's Showreel
Our Persian Host
  Digital Doubles  from Raw to Ready-to-Rig for the Entertainment Industry


Photogrammetry available in Vancouver location

TNG Visual E ffects Los Angeles and 
is a 3D scanning company in the entertainment industry that specializes in the creation of photo-realistic
digital assets. Many characters, vehicles, cars, sets, props,  animals, sculptures, and other items have been added to our scope of work since inception in 2009. 

Our team knows how to work with producers, directors, coordinators, A-list talent, and other agencies, making the most of their precious time and ensuring a successful project. TNG's work is always guaranteed. We are also highly noted for our ability to travel at a moments notice for a project. Exclusive use of highly mobile scanning systems allow for TNG to perform scans in practically any location.

TNG Building

Now that we have a supply of candy left over from  last month, Thanksgiving is coming and we really need to pick up speed to get our work done to enjoy the Holidays.  We will be busy helping out where we can on projects and cleaning up back logs. 

At TNG, we are developing more techniques in relation to 3D scanning to give you better models. We are getting deeper into developing systems and products to expand our markets with our high-tech scanners, skilled modelers, and our mobility.  We are always researching new technology and software to keep the quality of our service at the highest level, and to accelerate our pipeline. We do our best to provide a great product to our customers. 

We continue our search for partners who are synergistic to our service. Together we can help our customers save more while using better products.
Contact us  for more information.

Digital Doubles, Cyber Characters, Avatars or Virtual Characters

What's in a name? History, for the most part. Cyber characters I believe came from Cyber-ware, the 3D Scanning Company from Monterrey. The now closed company did what Xerox did with the copy machine, branded it to their name.  Avatars came from so many places but really got noticed in James Cameron's movie AVATAR. Digital doubles grew out of our digital age of what seems like digital everything but now we can produce virtual characters.

We have been using 3D Characters in projects for film, TV series, commercials, movies and games for perhaps 20 years, maybe even longer.  The big difference is the quality of the final product. It is amazing how realistic they are, however, there's still a few years to go on animated movement before they can emulate real humans.  There is always the uncanny valley to deal with, soft tissue, muscle, ligaments under the skin that tighten, sags or bulges.

Next step up will be AI (Artificial Intelligence) already in the making. This technology will have a lot to deal with in expressions, relationships, eye movements at time of fear, shyness, embarrassment, gestures and mouth movement when speaking. A look of understanding or confusion also will be a challenge.

We have come a long way in making the photo-realistic model and the next step is to breath life into them to the point of calling them a digital human or copy.

3D Scan captures are about recording the surface of the skin and materials the character is wearing. There are two parts to a 3D scan - the geometry (polygonal mesh) and the texture (color). Not all 3D scanners record color data whilst they scan - and the ones that do record color data are not recording the color data at a megapixel level that a professional DSLR camera can provide.

Whether a character is intended to be in the background, mid-ground, or foreground tells us what level of detail is necessary for it to look good on screen. The better looking the data, the more flexibility it allows for. Digital assets can and should look real. As screens get larger, and CG characters get more camera time, it's necessary to bump up the resolution of the 3D scanned characters along with their color textures.

Photography for a high quality character requires good lighting that can evenly and flatly light the entirety of a character. If there are shadows in the photo shoot, they will appear permanently in the color texture. This is a problem because a CG character should be able to work in any lighting environment. Lighting will also determine the fidelity and resolve of each individual photograph. Insufficient lighting makes for low quality photographs regardless of what camera is used. At a fundamental level - photography requires ample lighting. You cannot set your aperture on your camera to your desired stop unless there's enough light. Cameras have a feature called ISO, which artificially bumps the light up, but is highly destructive on each photograph so you want to keep your ISO as low as possible.

Additional things that greatly improve photography for 3D assets are full rotational shots of each side of the character with strong orthographic views, and ensuring the framing of the asset or character is tight to embed your photos with maximum digital resolution. With higher megapixel DSLR cameras coming to the market, it's possible to utilize the increased detail, but this will come at the cost of newer hardware and the latest software. It is possible to texture a 3D character at 16k resolution. Even if the texture map is downsized or the character isn't zoomed in to the camera, the color integrity is preserved. For example an 8 bit photo has 16.8 million possible colors whereas 16 bit photos has trillions of possible colors. This is important when photo manipulation occurs as it cuts and slices through the color spectrum degrading the image, and so keeping your original files at the highest quality allows for a high quality result at the end of the pipeline.
Lidar, how far do you want to go?

Lidar is a great tool to use in Visual Effects and many companies will attest to it.  It is the first step to creating digital content of buildings (inside and out), cars, trucks, airplanes plus all your sets and larger props. This saves so much time and work, however, the output goes to the next stage of being aligned. This is usually done in the provided software when acquiring the hardware that does the 3D scanning. The output is normally point clouds that need to be aligned.  This will make the
3D scanned model   look like the your model, as you rotate it.

Our next question is to surface the data or not. In the past that was always a definite yes. Nowadays it is not as needed as I believe more software companies are adding  that capability to their software. That said, the chances of us putting a surface on the data is still at least 50 %.  That would give you a surface of triangles, typically more than you would ever want to deal with.  From this point decimating  or reducing the amount of triangles would be needed to be able to work with the 3D model, but only to the extent you maintain good detail.  This is the extent a Lidar scanner is typically involved. However the job could go on to re-topology and then texturing based on budget and time.

It is always a question of budget as to how much to 3D scan? What will it be used for? How much to Lidar scan and how do you  want your data to be delivered? As companies become more aware of the technology with existing software and staff on board, it becomes a question of how far do you go before your tech team picks it up?

Thank you for taking the time to review our newsletter. If you have any questions, or would like to consider TNG Visual Effects in your next bid, please contact us. 

Nick Tesi
Founder & President

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