August 06, 2006

3D data capture takes a leap

Veteran engineer Steve Perlman has unveiled Contour, a system for capturing facial details in 3D space. The system goes beyond traditional motion capture methods by covering actors’ faces in phosphorescent powder, then recording their movements from multiple angles. The NYT story features a quick video of the results, and Studio Daily’s got more background on these developments.
Speaking of 3D capture,

  • Human Eyes offers photographers a system for creating 3D data using off-the-shelf equipment; here’s an example of the output.
  • Capture devices continue to decrease in size and price. Next Engine’s 3D desktop scanner costs $2,495 and is about the size of a cereal box. [Via]
  • Microsoft researchers this week unveiled Photosynth, a system for analyzing a large number of 2D photos to generate a 3D fly-through. They depict related research in this video.
  • Hardware makers continue to step up and deliver hilariously large amounts of processing power, as with this 80 billion pixel-per-second Nvidia expansion unit. (Somewhat of a bummer, the $17k box is not equipped with actual tank treads or a smokestack.)

Developments like these, combined with tools like Acrobat 3D driving proliferation, mean we’ll be seeing more & more approachable, practical 3D implementations. Interesting times ahead.
PS–On a more analog 3D tip, check out Richard Sweeney’s beautiful paper sculptures. [Via]

Posted by John Nack at 11:48 AM on August 06, 2006

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