Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

In honor of the holiday, check out this rather amazing zombie ShapeShot:


Monday, October 27, 2014

The Pharaoh - Digitally Documenting Ancient Sculptures

Sculptures in ancient Egypt were thought to grant eternal life to the kings, queens, and gods that they portrayed. For this and other reasons, people even today are fascinated by the ancient Egyptian culture and the remarkable sculptures they left behind, many of which remain in museum collections around the world. Many museums consider their Egyptian collection among their most popular exhibits. The Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of Pharaohs, for example, is regarded as the most popular traveling exhibit in history.

Considered one of the finest Ancient Egyptian collections in the world, The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has over 42,000 items in their collection. Direct Dimensions was approached recently by the University of Pennsylvania museum, known as The University Museum, with an exciting 3D project: the museum officials wanted to offer replicas of some of the more special pieces for sale in the museum gift shop.

Given the well preserved condition of these original ancient artifacts, and the museum's dedication to quality and authenticity, it was important that the replicas be as close to a perfect copy as possible. The officials quickly realized that advanced non-contact 3D imaging technology would be needed to perform this task.
For example, with the age of the sculptures dating back to approximately 1300 B.C., it would not be possible to cast a mold off the pieces as this could damage the originals. It was also determined that some of the pieces would need to be reproduced in smaller and/or larger versions than the originals, so direct casting would not work.

With previous experience scanning the sculptures of Matisse and Degas for institutions such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, National Galley of Art in DC, and MOMA, Direct Dimensions provided the expertise to help The University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology complete this project. Working in museums with priceless works of art has become a regular component of our business and growing broader everyday.

The DDI technicians scanned four different sculptures: the Amun, the Headless Princess, the Scribe, and a Kneeling King Tut. An articulating arm-based laser line scanner provided high accuracy and real-time feedback to assure complete capture before heading back to Baltimore to process the raw scan data.

 For the post-processing, we used Innovmetric’s PolyWorks Modeler software to create highly accurate watertight 3D digital models of each of the ancient pieces. During both the scanning and modeling processes, specific attention was paid to fine cracks and other imperfections in the original pieces – qualities that would make the reproductions that much more accurate and realistic. Some of the models were also scaled to several different heights so that the gift shop could offer the reproductions at different pricing levels.
The final digital models were formatted into STL files and fabricated using rapid prototyping to create high quality patterns. Then the museum arranged for a production fabricator to cast the reproductions in a high quality resin material.

The museum-quality reproduction sculptures are some of the most popular items in their gift shop and visitors are thrilled to bring a little piece of Ancient Egypt home with them.

If you would like to make museum-quality reproductions to raise funds for your museum, please contact Direct Dimensions.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

3D Scanning at the Movies

More of our 3D scanning for VFX showing up in two critically acclaimed films this week.

Our scanning crews went on-site to digitally document actors for both John Wick and Birdman. Check out the trailers below for glimpses of the effects.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fly Through of 3D Scan Data

Please take the time to view this color point-cloud fly-thru from a recent 3D laser scan of an archaeology site in Maryland. Direct Dimensions used a Faro Focus to scan the historical site.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Preserving the Washington Monument with 3D Scanning

Direct Dimensions is a Baltimore company and we feel strongly about contributing to our city and community. There is no shortage of important historic sites around the Baltimore area and, when able, we help preservation efforts by documenting them. So when renovations began on the Washington Monument in the Mount Vernon neighborhood we jumped at the chance to digitally document the first national monument in honor of George Washington.

Our crew ascended almost 200 feet of scaffolding to get to the top of the  monument at dawn and begin 3D scanning the sculpture of George Washington. Two different scanning technologies were employed , the Faro Focus and a handheld Artec EVA scanner.

The resulting data will be kept for the City of Baltimore. It is an accurate record of the monumental sculpture as it exists in 2014 and will allow for preservation, recreation, or replication should it ever be needed.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

3D Fashion Adventure

Photographed by Beau Sam
You often read about fashion applications for 3D printing: a recent Miss America contestant wore 3D printed shoes, Dita Von Teese wore a 3D printed dress, and 3D printed Angel Wings featured heavily in a Victoria's Secret fashion show last year. There are other applications that are tantalizingly close to showing up in your nearest mall but don't necessarily receive as much press; these applications tend to revolve around the use of 3D scanners and garment personalization.

Photographed by Beau Sam
When launched it's new website this month they decided to do a piece that highlighted the future of 3D scanning and printing in fashion. Rather than just showing the usual 3D printed accessories they came up with an incredible photo shoot featuring dozens of 3D prints of supermodel Karlie Kloss.

But before you can have a 3D print, you have to have a 3D file. So Vogue contacted Direct Dimensions to scan Ms. Kloss with our 360 body scanner. After scanning the model in over a dozen ensembles, we modeled the data into files suitable for 3D printing. Those prints were then sent all over the world and photographed.

Visit to see the photographs and read the article:

Envisioning the Future of 3-D Fashion: Welcome to the Virtual Dressing Room


Friday, September 19, 2014

3D Laser Scanning for BIM

Last month we posted a case study about using 3D laser scanning for an MEP space renovation. We received great feedback and some questions about other general uses for 3D scanning and modeling for building and construction projects. Below is a quick (but comprehensive) video overview of the benefits of 3D laser scanning of buildings, facilities, sites, and structures for accurate documentation, analysis, and design.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Case Study: MEP Facility Scanning

At Direct Dimensions we use many 3D laser scanning technologies for a wide range of applications. This case study illustrates how we used a spherical laser to capture and 3D model a complicated MEP space within an historic building for renovation into new modern living spaces.

The Backstory:
The current Provincial House of the Daughters of Charity was built in Emmitsburg in 1964 and was used to house the Sisters and headquarter various charitable efforts. But like other religious orders in the United States, the Daughters of Charity membership has dwindled and by 2009 the building was severely underutilized. Rather than let the building sit empty, the Sisters proposed a plan in which the unused space could be used to create affordable apartments and assisted living facilities for local senior citizens. While the structure itself was in excellent condition, the electrical and mechanical systems would have to be updated to accommodate the new facilities.

The Challenge:
To plan for the overhaul and installation of the new MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) systems for the historic facility, Whiting-Turner, the construction contractor, needed a fast and accurate 3D layout of the boiler room, and the various aged components and extensive piping. The traditional methods of hand tools, such as tape measures, distance meters, and sketch pads is time consuming, expensive, must all be done on-site, and prone to numerous errors. Whiting-Turner and The Daughters of Charity found an excellent solution with Direct Dimensions using long range laser scanners and advanced 3D software tools.

Just a small section of the antiquated MEP space which would need to be fully and accurately documented in 3D

Click here to learn about how Direct Dimensions solved this problem using 3D scanning and modeling.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

3D Scanning for Visual Effects

Some more of Direct Dimensions' 3D scanning and modeling is showing up on the big screen this weekend in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

Last year some of our team got to spend an extended summer break hanging out with (and 3D scanning) Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, and even Shredder. In addition to scanning the actors/characters we also digitized several set pieces, some of which you can see in the above trailer.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Where Do Gnomes Come From?

While we can't speak to the genesis of all gnomes, this video case study shows how the Gnute the Gnome watering can went from a hand sculpted concept to your local garden store.