The NextEngine 3D scanning system is used in media and entertainment, industrial and scientific applications. Complete 3D models can be generated and exported to software like Autodesk Mudbox and 3ds Max, SolidWorks, Pixologic ZBrush, Rhino and others. Used with ScanStudio CAD Tools, the NextEngine can make surface files or RapidWorks to build solid files. Models can be printed out on Dimension, 3D Systems, zCorp, Objet, and other 3D printers.
The NextEngine scanner is attached with a powered USB hub and runs best on a Windows Quad Core system with 8Gb of RAM, but some surprising results have been obtained with smaller systems. This system does not require the object to be placed inside the scanner, so any fragile model can stay completely stationary. A complete 3D model of the object can be captured by combining shots of each facet, each taken from a different point of view. These views are combined by using the software which is included in the purchase of the NextEngine scanner. The ScanStudio software works when you place virtual beads on the same spot in two different views. The software collects these spots together and binds them together when melding the model and when using the advanced AutoDrive or MultiDrive modes, this step is automated. The mesh files can be output in a range of formats including STL, PLY, XYZ, VRML and OBJ for immediate use in SolidWorks, Mudbox and ZBrush among other industry applications.
Each captured view takes about two minutes to scan and be delivered in the required format. While for some applications, a single view is all that is required, a typical full 3D view can be complete with about 12 views, with minimal mesh pops and peak corrections required after the scan.
Two case studies are discussed here. One involves the facial scan for a project by Ara Kermanikian in Los Angeles; the other is the scanning of a miniature cave environment for use as a full scale set on a short film called Before the Fall.
Using the NextEngine 3DScanner, an artist will be able to scan a person’s face, or sculpt a model in clay, scan it and then bring it into the digital realm to improve and finalize it. This is what Ara Kermanikian has done on a project recently. "I have always used it for capturing 'likeness'. To sculpt somebody's 'likeness' can be a little time consuming," explains Kermanikian. "It can take a day and a half or so. But with the NextEngine scanner you can do it all in 20 minutes."
The NextEngine takes about two to five minutes to scan one section of the model or person's face you want to use. The front of the person's face is set for a pass, then two or more side scans are also generated, in a 30 or 45-degree spacing. These scans are straight line views, like a plane. The plane will intersect the subject, conforming to the contours of the face. As that scan line moves along the face out will capture the points of the face and then collect an interpolation to connect the points together. Inside the nose, ears mouth or any other obscured overhangs, but these can either be corrected by moving the scanner to another angle for the next pass, or you can fix it after the model is in your digital sculpting program such as Mudbox or ZBrush.
This generates 'pieces' of your model which then can be merged together. The most important scan of a face is the front angle because that would collect most of the 'likeness' data. "But, connecting these separate scans with traditional 3D applications would be a nightmare," explains Kermanikian. "So you gather them in ZBrush or Mudbox and arrange them to match up as much as you can. They're just like 3D parts, so you rotate them and translate them so they overlap a little bit, and then by following one of several workflows, you can get the whole shape of the face as a topologically sound 3D model.”
“Working with a 3D Scanner has saved me a lot of time, as well as helped me become a better artist. By experiencing the intricacies of complex organic shapes, such as that of a human face in ZBrush is priceless. By observing that intricacy in ZBrush, I can edit it, enhance it, or recreate it with new design choices.”