3d Something from nothing

Modelling in 3d from scratch is hard. It is digital sculpture. Whilst the tools help it is really for the hands of an artists as much as a hammer, chisel and block of marble is to create something from nothing. There are qll sorts of wizards and helper programs plus lots of existing artwork in the public domain that let us less artistic more techie people get some things done. I don’t think you can ever replace the talent and eye of an artist but some technology is going to help as a starting point for 3d objects.
I have been looking at Kinect Fusion which uses the kinect to scan and then produce a 3d model of the things it is looking at. This looks like a very promising way to get existing objects into a good format for dropping into virtual worlds and Unity3d.
You will notice from this sample picture from Microsoft that the mesh created can be an OBJ as in normal 3d packages or an STL the format for 3d printers so this is nearly a 3D photocopier.
I say I have been looking at it, though I have not been able to use it fully yet. The sample is a Windows only application. Whilst the kinect works fine as a “normal” kinect on the Mac the scanning application isn’t supported (for obvious reasons). I run windows on a bootcamp on the 5 year old Macbook pro. Unfortunately that does not have a full DX11 graphics card. Without all the bells and whistles of DX11 the application doesn’t work. So I may have to get a full windows machine as long as I can be sure its full DX11 compliant.
There is another interesting development in the works that @asanyfuleno pinged me way before I saw it explode across my twitter feed. It is the ability to create a 3d object from three simple swipes across a 2d picture.
It sounds crazy but it does seem to work in this video. Which is also honest enough to show cases where this does not work.

This is an academic presentation from SIGRAPH Asia 2013. There are always interesting things to read about from the various SIGRAPH events such as these

Things at SIGRAPH and other high end tech conferences can sometimes seem out of the reach of most of us however (just to bring this full circle) This paper from 2002 just 11 years ago shows a 3d scanning application which performs the same task as the Kinect Fusion application I started this post with.
It was also good too see recently from SIGRAPH the wonderful MCOR paper printer now doing full colour. We had some samples from MCOR on Cool Stuff Collective and I wrote them a little article. Now though they are doing even more clever things with paper and colour.

It is great seeing the advances in tech and art and even more exciting as they mature into accessible tools and toys for anyone to use.

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