Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Project Photofly

This could be considered the second part my recent post "digital distractions."  While playing around with Sculptris is fun, I was lamenting that I couldn't simply scan sculptures that I make by hand, IRL  I'm aware that three dimensional scanning technology. exists, but the cost is still prohibitive to something that I'd have to label as a whim at this point.  I've Googled, and it seems that some people are working on some hacks for Kinect to to make a more affordable scanner, but I'd suspect the resolution will be pretty crude.  While I cheer for power to the people, I surely am not going to waste precious studio time learning to program to help the open source revolution.  So, suffice to say I've been thinking on this lately and imagine my surprise when my October issue of Wired arrived and I hit page 68.  

On page 68, they reviewed Autodesk's Project Photofly.  The gist is a free program that allows you to use your point and shoot camera to make a 3D scan. No doubt every geek who reads the issue will be driven to scan their own head, their friend's heads, and all the knickknacks within reach, but I think this program could be of great use to artists with a few more enhancements.   (Autodesk, if you want to hire me on as a consultant, gimme a call.)    A caveat to the casually interested:  the process is very labor intensive, and involves making well over 40 photographs, and an upload to a supercomputer to do the real work.  That said, I was rather impressed by the results.

The truly amazing part remains, sadly, trapped in my computer.   Trust me, my sculpture is scanned into virtual space.  I can play with it, relight it, zoom, and rotate it in any angle.  As a novelty feature, the program allows users to plot a film of their own Matrix-like rotations and upload the video to YouTube.  While you could wave a video recorder around an object for the same experience produced by this video, remember the part currently trapped in my computer.   If I had the necessary digital skills in other software to clean this baby up, I could print out a version for you, and then things would start to get really interesting.

1 comment:

Scott Sheppard said...

We recognize that 3D printing is one of the ultimate goals.