3D modelling is one of my visualist achilles heels. I don’t seem to have the kind of brain which can deconstruct objects into geometric solids. So it comes as no surprise that I’m extremely interested in 3D scanning (CDMo tag).

We’ve previously looked at the work of Kyle McDonald, who’s dealing in “Structured Light” scanning. I’ve been in touch with Kyle, so more on this very soon. In the meantime, Noisepages member Runagate has posted about ProFORMA, a promising 3D modelling technique using a single video input.

Created by Cambridge Engineering PhD student Qi Pan, ProFORMA uses a fixed camera to track motion of a model, and automatically generates both 3D mesh and texture! Obviously the demonstration above uses a reasonably simple, rigid model, so it remains to be seen how robust this could be for complex objects. Apparently ProFORMA will be released as freeware, so we’ll keep an eye on this in the coming months.

Despite our continued lack of hovercars, there really does seem to be a confluence of futuristic technology happening right now, much of which is extremely beneficial to digital artists. Between 3D Scanning and 3D Printing, I’m really looking forward to more of my art  becoming tangible in the coming years.

  • Wow!, i want it 😉

  • bilderbuchi

    me too! i had found it a couple months ago, but figured that they would develop the technology, then sell it (Stanford VectorMagic, anyone?). Great to hear it may become freeware. Where did you read that?

  • This is great! We should build a community of developpers around it. Who's in? 😉

  • This is insane. There have been similar systems in the past, but not with this level of geometry analyzation – not to mention the automatic texturing!
    This really could revolutionize indie game development. Can't afford to pay a freelancer $3k for custom art? Just scan some of your old junk! Instant kitschy game art.
    I'm curious to see how what kind of intellectual property issues arise from this sort of thing… if I scan some micro machines and use them in a game, will I get sued by Hasbro?
    Frickin' Hasbro.

  • @Mike: Good point on scanning of art assets. I'd be very interested to try this with high definition cameras and smaller objects.

  • Looks like fun.
    One-camera systems like this have been around for a while, though. Don't recall the name of one a friend uses that uses markers, typically printed out sheets, but it was pretty cheap. A slight bit more involved, but otherwise able to match this in performance –
    Namely, produce a pretty inefficient 3D-models of very simple objects – No cavities or significant self-occlusion allowed. This model you'd then have to clean up by hand (or – for now – expensive intelligent polyreducers) to use for anything minimally complex. With objects this simple, I'd prefer just building them from scratch and projecting photos for the textures.
    Sorry, but I'm not too excited for the prospects of this. it'll be fun and useful in some simple cases. And as always, potentially artistically interesting in the edge cases where the technique breaks down and produce glitchy output. The video for example showed some interesting intermediary states where the hand sort of got welded into the silhouette.

  • Sa

    source never released 🙁