What's Up. What's Next?

Even though it is right on the heels of the Spring Issue, this Summer Issue of 3D Developments filled up very fast. The variety of articles in this first newsletter in a year is only a sample of the even wider variety of applications for Cyberware scanners in use worldwide for many and various applications. With hundreds of scanners in dozens of countries, in many cases we do not know exactly how Cyberware technology is being applied. We welcome information on specific projects using Cyberware scanners and hope customers will keep us up to date on notable and interesting pursuits.

From the beginning we had a very long list of possible applications that we are happy to see coming to pass as more and more digitizers are out there. Articles often mention that we began only with the notion of doing portrait sculpture, but what we had in mind was that sculpture was a gee-whiz application that would finance further development of the technology for the other ideas we had in mind and while the field and demand developed.

While going from digitizing the crew of Star Trek 4 on a revolving potter's wheel with white light and equipment held together with C-clamps to the original 4020 PS laser scanner and then the 3030, we did mill thousands of heads and sculptures and sold over 500 finished busts. Films such as Terminator 2 and The Abyss used head scans of characters for special effects and Batman and Robin stars were scanned here with the Whole Body scanner for the fitting of costumes.

While developing our line of Model Shop digitizers we were able to participate in the creation of such monumental works as the memorial to Duke Ellington in Central Park in New York City and the Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. with artist, Robert Graham who has long appreciated the combination of art and technology. Now Cyberware Service Centers digitize the movie stars and develop expertise in scanning and fabricating for art and industry. We enjoy hearing about projects using Cyberware scanners.

Cyberware has also developed many specialized digitizers. There have been configurations for digitizing hands, legs and feet, extra high-resolution models, and special gantry platforms. At present we are developing a unit for the Stanford University Computer Graphics Laboratory for use in Italy where they will digitize many of the works of Michelangelo.

Software is key to putting 3D data to use and its refinement is continually pushed by both Cyberware and others; see articles inside. Recently, the operating software and some of the most important data processing software has been ported to the NT operating system. Come see this demonstrated at our booth at SIGGRAPH.

From Real to Digital

Paraform & Cyberware / Partners at SIGGRAPH 98

Paraform provides software products and services designed to facilitate the creation of computer-generated three-dimensional computer models from data obtained via rapid 3D laser digitizing of complex organic shapes such as humans, animated characters, and ergonomic products.

Paraform's proprietary software extends technologies developed over the last 5 years at Stanford University's Computer Graphics Lab. It converts 3D laser scanned data into models suitable for use within the most popular animation and modeling software applications. Paraform's software converts scanned model data into B-spline, NURBS, or structured polygonal mesh models suitable for additional manipulation and/or animation and optimizes the models for specific applications (e.g. real-time rendering, full motion video, prototype milling for merchandizing, etc.).

Using Paraform's approach, film studios and special effects groups can dramatically reduce the time required to bring physical models into the computer animation pipeline, while at the same time significantly improving the resolution and robustness of these models. Similarly, industrial designers can incorporate Paraform's technology within the context of their own product development cycle, thereby reducing development costs and dramatically minimizing time to market.

Cyberware, the recognized leader within the realm of rapid 3D digitizing technology and hardware development for the past 15 years, is pleased to share a booth with Paraform, a company on the cutting edge of software developments designed to optimize the benefits of 3D laser scanning.

Additional information on Paraform is available via http://www.paraform.com

headus (metamorphosis)

At this years SIGGRAPH, headus will be unveiling its new CySlice to Maya plug-in. Maya is Alias|Wavefront's exciting new modeling, and animation system for SGI and NT workstations. CySlice allows you to cut slices through very detailed polygon meshes, and the plug-in transfers these slices to the Maya modeling environment in the blink of an eye. These slices can then be lofted to create NURBS surfaces using Maya's powerful modeling tools.

CySlice is an elegant solution to the '3D scan to NURBS surfaces" problem for users of Maya or PowerAnimator. In fact, any animation or CAD system that can import IGES files can be used with CySlice. This means that scans can be sliced and imported into Pro/E, Softimage and Rhino to name a few.

But it's not only 3D scans that can be sliced; CySlice is great for reverse engineering polygon meshes saved in the rapid-prototyping and 3D-printing STL format.

headus will be showing CySlice and the Maya and PowerAnimator plug-ins at the Alias|Wavefront booth. Look for the "headus (metamorphosis)" sign in the Conductors section and ask for either Jill Smith or Phil Dench."

Second in a three model "Dog to Beast" transformation. Body scanned with MS 3030RGB. Head and feet scanned with M15 for extra detail. CyDir used for all scanning, alignment, merging and editing. Final count: 1.6 million polygons.

Visit the headus A|W Conductors pod to see the CySlice and PowerAnimator created NURBS surface. Scanned by headus for "The Reckoning", Wilshire Court/Photon Stockman."

Gentle Giant

When Karl Meyer, founder and president of Gentle Giant Studios, first saw a demonstration of Cyberware scanners at SIGGRAPH '97, he envisioned the possibility of integrating Cyberware's high-tech tools with the traditional arts of sculpting to bring independent prototype-making into the digital realm. At the time, Burbank-based Gentle Giant was well-known by Disney, Mattel, Warner Brothers, Universal and other major licensors and studios as one of the top sculpting houses serving the toy and licensed-product industries.

Six months later, Meyer's vision was reality. Gentle Giant sculpting studio uses Cyberware scanners to help make production and sales prototypes of toys, gifts, collectibles and premiums -- everything from bubble-bath bottles and cups shaped like favorite cartoon characters, to elaborate snow globes, and action figures of the latest cartoon superheroes and film, television, and sports stars.

Role of Cyberware Scanners

In the past, every time Gentle Giant needed to create a new figure of an existing character -- Mickey Mouse, for example -- a sculptor had to start by making a wire armature and modeling the figure in clay, then have a silicone mold made and the figure cast in wax. "It's a very time-consuming process," Meyer says, "and all just to get to a point where the fine detail, and much of the real art of sculpting begins."

Now, whenever a 3D model of a character is available -- preferably a maquette, which is a licensor's 3D style guide -- it goes to Gentle Giant's high-resolution Cyberware 3030 scanner. Within minutes, the character is digitally captured and the point cloud data sent to an SGI workstation.

"Next," says Steve Chapman, technical director and head of Gentle Giant's cyber staff, "we use G-Sculpt proprietary software to surface the figure. In Maya we can also rescale the character and change its pose -- make a standing character sit down, for example, or reposition its arms to hold an object."

Gentle Giant also uses their high-resolution scanner to digitize models of objects that need to be incorporated into a finished prototype. A car, truck, spaceship, skateboard, and gramophone are just a few examples of countless objects that have been scanned and reshaped on the computer to fulfill sculpting needs.

Once a character or object has been scanned and edited, it goes to one of Gentle Giant's two 3D modelers (both Actua 2100s made by 3D Systems), and before long, a thermoplastic model is ready for hand-finishing.

Gentle Giant was so pleased with its high-res scanner that the company purchased a Cyberware 3D head scanner, which it uses to capture -- with total accuracy -- the faces and heads of popular film and television actors. Although the actors' names are still confidential, their likenesses will be soon be found in the form of dolls and action figures at toy and gift stores around the world.

Benefit of Cyberware Scanners to Gentle Giant

"Just as I expected," Meyer says, "the scanners help save important time and creative energy at the beginning of a project. And when we scan a figure that's already been approved by the licensor as character-accurate, it really helps make the process of reviews and approvals much easier." The scanners have also allowed Gentle Giant to expand its business beyond the world of toys and provide new digital services to producers of special effects and live-action and animated films.

Who knows what new brainstorm Meyer may have at SIGGRAPH 98? Anyone who attends the show can ask, because Meyer and other Gentle Giant staff members will be there, sharing a booth with 3D Systems.

For more information about Gentle Giant Studios, Inc., contact Christina Rivera, Studio Director. Phone: (818) 557-8681. Fax: (818) 557-8684. Email: cr.gentlegiant@usa.net

Cyber F/X

Seuss Memorial

Cyber F/X has been awarded the contract for producing Dr. Seuss characters for a memorial in the author's hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts. The project is to digitize models of 20 characters created by Dimond-Cates Studios and enlarge them for monumental bronzes. These will include a six-foot Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, the Grinch and Yertle the Turtle atop a sixteen-foot tower of turtles. All will be part of an open-air park where children can play on them near the "Mulberry Street" where the author imagined processions of zany characters for his first book.

Cyber F/X is well qualified for this project due to vast experience reproducing maquettes digitized with Cyberware scanners for such notable clients as Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal Studios. Since its inception in 1992 as the first service bureau in the Los Angeles area, Cyber F/X has refined the processes involved in producing enlargements and developed large custom sculpting machines; the largest has 5 axes and an envelope approximately 8' x 8' for monumental work.

The First Cyberware Scanner in Greece

At the foot of mount Olympus, in northern Greece, there is a small town called Dion. It is special because next to this modern town are the ruins of ancient Dion, the religious center of the ancient Macedonians. In fact, Alexander the Great sacrificed to the gods here before he began his campaign to the east, in 334 BC.

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has been excavating since the 1920's but the major and most systematic work began in 1973 under the supervision of professor of archaeology D. Pandermalis. Under the guidance of Athens Technology Center, a Greek company specializing in multimedia applications, modern technology tools have become an integral part of the excavation. And ARCHATOUR*, a European founded group plans an electronic restoration of part of the site, in particular the sanctuary of goddess Isis. This is to include the concept of being able to virtually walk inside the sanctuary, hence the need to digitize statues and other objects inside the temple.

The Cyberware system is a proven and reliable tool, which fulfills not only the project requirement but also minimal and safe handling of the delicate ancient finds. The first Cyberware scanner ever sold in Greece, the model 3030 MS [?], was shipped to the excavation labs in Dion and a Cyberware expert trained the technical staff.

This scanner makes possible new methods of studying and manipulating the original finds and replicas. And, according to the experts, being able to view cross sections of a statue reveals vital information about the sculptor. Electronically matching and restoring broken pieces has become a standard process. The next step is to acquire a mill that will enable the system to make a hard copy of the processed objects. A database with all the finds shown in 3D is also under way. By now the scanner has become an integral part of the excavation and a valuable tool in the hands of the archaeologists. It is very exciting to see such modern technology and archaeology work together.

Coordinating partner: Athens Technology Center-Greece

Film East

Entertainment Plus

Besides projects in the entertainment field - visual effects, broadcast design and film services - expected for a company with their name, Film East has found the Cyberware WB4 broadening their prospects into research, engineering, anthropology as well.

They are pleased to be part of a study at Georgia State University involving the impact of 3D scanning on the made-to-measure garment industry. The focus of the study is to see if it is possible to combine 2D patterns with 3D images, make alterations, and enable the sewing of custom-made garments via the Internet. The on-going study will implement 3D scanning into a real production basis when the time comes. Kathy Chase, the Graduate Research Assistant notes that having real images to work with has accelerated their research and enabled them to "jump ahead to the economic and Internet issues".

Film East also includes a Cyberware 3030 MM Hi-Rez scanner for models and a 3030 PS for heads in their arsenal of other high-tech visual effects equipment. They are strategically located between New York City and Philadelphia. See Cyberware Service Center list.

Scanning Service Centers

See the Service Center Page for an up-to-date listing of Cyberware-approved scanning service centers.

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