3D Digital Technologies Helped The Entertainment Industry
“In movies today, most monsters and creatures are done digitally for certain sequences. This allows us to take the CG animation model and build a sculpture off of the texture maps and geometry through means of rapid prototyping and 3D printing.” —Karl Meyer, Gentle Giant Studios
In today’s entertainment industry, with the help of 3D digital technologies, the artists of many movie studios, animations and gaming are able to create their wildest imagination objects, characters faster and more efficiently.
In the 2017 Nissan Rogue: Every Star Wars Nissan Rogue One comes with a limited edition Death Trooper replica helmets. With the Nissan collaboration in place, Lucasfilm approached 3D Systems’ Gentle Giant Studios with the task of creating over 5,400 detailed, high quality helmet replicas within 3 months.
Their digital modelers create the 3D printable helmet model and sent the files to Stereolithograogy (SLA) printer for prototypes which were used to create the master fiberglass production molds. With these molds, they are able to execute a low volume production run with high quality finishing.
Life of Pi, directed by Academy Award-winner Ang Lee, used majority of the visual effects (VFX) shots with the help of 3D scanning software to take advantage of the power of 3D data capture to make many of the movie’s amazing special effects. Some of the effects includes the Bengal tiger, digitally recreated water and skies, Meerkat Island, lifeboat, floating raft and additional creatures.
Visual effects studio Rhythm and Hues (R&H) hired LeaderTek, a Taiwanese 3D scanning service bureau, to digitally capture the lifeboat and floating raft using FARO Focus 3D laser scanner. They also used Geomagic Design X reverse engineering software to merge and optimize the massive point cloud scan data into a qualified mesh STL file.
At World of Tomorrow, the visual effects modeling process begins with the creation of digital replicas of the main actors and actresses featured in the movie. Gentle Giant are called in to create digital scans of the actors, followed by sending the resulting scan data to Zack Petroc and his team as .cly files. The scan data is imported into Geomagic FreeForm where they digitally re-create missing data, alter facial expressions if needed, and restore the scan to a surface-able quality.
After the digital modeling is completed, the scans are surfaced directly in FreeForm and exported into an animation program for setup and preparation. The digital doubles of the actors and actresses are then added to various scenes in places where it would not be possible to use the actual performers and create all the organically shaped “props” for the movie using FreeForm. The Props that were digitally modeled include: creatures, classical statues, set props, landscape, terrain, mountains, rocks, and trees.
The Ginkgo Barista manages Ginkgo3D publications.