Friday, January 23, 2015

Making Reality Digital, Making the Digital into the Physical

 Direct Dimensions founder and President, Michael Raphael, was asked to present on the possibilities of 3D Scanning and Printing at Faro's 3D Documentation conference.

Through compelling visual case studies you can learn how 3D scanning helps make the physical into digital, and how that data in turn can be used to 3D print new objects. Case studies include national monuments, buildings, historic artifacts, consumer and medical applications and face and figure scanning. You can watch the presentation below.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: The Table of Brotherhood

In 2011 Chevrolet released a short in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., entitled "The Table of Brotherhood." The spot's release coincided with the newly dedicated Memorial to Dr. King in Washington DC.

To have the short filmed and edited in time for the dedication of the memorial, however, it needed to be completed before the monument was finished. To help create the filmed memorial, a small scale maquette of the monumental sculptre was scanned and 3D modeled. The digital version of the memorial was edited into the video. Below are images from the scanning and modeling process, as well as the final video for "The Table of Brotherhood."


Thursday, December 18, 2014

3D Scanning for VFX: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Can you spot the 3D scanning data?

3D scanning brings the complex reality of the physical world accurately into the digital realm – so accurately that we don’t even notice that the effects may not have been filmed, but created digitally in the computer.



Friday, December 5, 2014

Bmore3D: Baltimore's 3D Printing & 3D Scanning Pop-up Store Returns

Custom 3D Stuff, Tinkerine Studios Ltd., ShapeShot and Direct Dimensions are collaborating to create the first retail store in the mid-Atlantic region focused on 3D scanning and 3D printing.  The Bmore3D Store is located at 10310 S. Dolfield Road, Suite #3D in Owings Mills, MD. 

New this year is the ability to create your own face in chocolate. The DittoPro 3D printer is also on sale, as well as the previous Ditto+ and Litto printers as kits. Customers can shop a curated gallery of the most unique gifts in Baltimore, designed by Baltimore 3D artists.  Items include earrings, rings, necklaces,  and an assortment of unique Baltimore-themed pieces.  All items are designed using 3D modeling software and fabricated by an assortment of 3D printers.  The DittoPro 3D printers from Tinkerine Studios will be on display in the store demonstrating 3D printing.

The store also features ShapeShot™, the world’s first fully automated 3D photo booth, featured in Time Magazine.  After being captured in 3D, customers can order their 3D-printed busts, mini-figs, game pieces, jewelry, bobbleheads and even ceramic coffee mugs customized with a scale model of their face.  Bring your family, your babies, and even your pets!  ShapeShot lets you be the face of 3D printing.

ShapeShot was developed by Direct Dimensions, the Baltimore-based engineering services firm also in the store providing 3D scanning of objects and unique full-body 3D scanning for amazing 3D printed miniature figurines.  In November, Direct Dimensions was showcased by The Smithsonian for its contributions to the groundbreaking SI x 3D project which brings museum artifacts online in 3D to the world.

The Bmore3D Store will also feature various educational and entertainment opportunities for visitors with technology discussions and demonstrations by regional 3D professionals.  These events will highlight methods of 3D design, 3D scanning, and 3D printing and other aspects of digital fabrication – fast becoming the new way for making things.  Everyone at all levels will find these sessions helpful, particularly professionals interested in implementing 3D tools in their workplace.

A schedule of activities will be posted on Bmore3D’s website featuring renowned 3D industry professionals, local artists, designers, and engineers.  Check back often for upcoming activities and meet-ups.
Custom 3D Stuff, founded by Todd Blatt in 2009, creates custom CAD designs, 3D printed jewelry, props, custom engineering prototypes, and advertising and promotional material through the use of digital fabrication.

The Bmore3D Store is located at 10310 S. Dolfield Road, Suite #3D, Owings Mills, Maryland 21227
Web:  Phone: 443-963-9456  Email:
A collaboration of:
Custom 3D Stuff at
Tinkerine Studios at
Direct Dimensions at
ShapeShot at


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

3D Scanning at the Movies: The Cobbler

If it seems like we're posting a lot of movie trailers for films we've worked on this year - we are!

We've had a ton of fun over the last few years scanning actors, sets, locations, costumes and props for many films and it is always exciting to see our 3D scans showing up in the finished product. Definitely click on over to our IMDB page for a full list of everything we've done and are doing.

And below, check out the trailer for The Cobbler, for which we completed figure and prop scanning for special effects.


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.