Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hackathon Slideshow

A few weeks ago we posted about the Artbytes Hackathon hosted by the Walters Art Museum. We scanned several pieces of the collection to be used as 3D content for their website. You can watch the below slideshow to see our project, "Team Scantasia" in detail.

We also helped Team George Crowdsourcington by 3D scanning a bust of George Washington that was modeled and portioned out to be the first large piece of art generated by crowdsourced 3D printing.


Friday, February 14, 2014

3D Scanning at the Movies: Winter's Tale

2013 was a busy year for us when it came to 3D scanning for visual effects. As we come into 2014 we now get to see the fruits of our labor. Winter's Tale opens this weekend just in time for Valentines Day. You can spot some of the effects in the above trailer.


Friday, February 7, 2014


To celebrate the kick-off of the 2014 Olympics we thought we'd pull a cool project from the archive:

Virtual Aerodynamic Analysis for the US Luge Team

Luge is one of the most exciting sports of the winter Olympics. A typical luge run consists of a person (or team of two) on a small sled, at speeds that can exceed 95 miles an hour, going down a course that has an average drop of 30 stories. Most sports measure results by the tenth or hundredth of a second but the difference between a gold and silver is so close that luge is the only sliding sport measured to the single thousandth of a second. Due to the extreme measurement, shaving even a couple of milliseconds off a final time can lead to a major competitive advantage.

Preparing for the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, Direct Dimensions was approached by the United States Luge team with an exciting problem that could be solved in 3D. The USA Luge team was looking at some very high tech methods for testing their equipment and improving their times; one of the testing methods included virtual wind tunnel testing.

The team was interested in testing various design modifications to their sleds. Rather than making many expensive, actual modifications and putting each one through expensive physical wind tunnel and downhill testing, the team was planning on having a 3D model. With the 3D model the athletes would then be able to view, with virtual testing, where their sleds would need improvement in order to maximize their speed and lower drag.

Given this challenge, the USA Luge team contracted Direct Dimensions. Our expertise in creating models for computation fluid dynamics analysis (CFD) combined with additional experience scanning individuals for the arts and entertainment market, made Direct Dimensions uniquely suited to work on the team’s project. Over the course of a couple of days, members of the USA Luge team and their sleds were captured in 3D by DDI engineers at our facility.

The sleds themselves were captured using a laser line scanner mounted on a Faro Arm. This equipment captured the exact shape and contours to an accuracy of about a tenth of a millimeter. The athletes were then scanned in full gear and on their sleds using a Minolta Vivid 910 scanner.

With the raw 3D data gathered during scanning, Direct Dimensions engineers then created reverse engineered 3D CAD models of the sleds and their athletes. These models allowed the team to conduct computation fluid dynamics (CFD) with greater precision and accuracy given the exact human measurements of team members in relation to their sleds.

After the 2006 games a few members of the team returned to Direct Dimensions with their doubles sled for further scanning and modeling. The modifications created from these 3D models will hopefully enable the USA Luge team to continue increasing their speeds.


Monday, February 3, 2014

ArtBytes 2014

Last week we had the opportunity to compete in the second ArtBytes Hackathon, hosted by the Walters Art Museum.

For those unfamiliar, a hackathon is usually a multi-day event that brings together skilled technical workers (such as software programmers, graphic and interface designers, and engineers) to create a project based on a theme. In the case of ArtBytes II the task was to create something inspired by or directly related to the museum's collection. At the start of the hackathon several projects will generally be proposed and then the workers will split into teams to complete their project by the event's end.

Direct Dimensions modeler Michelle Craft evaluates the Terra Cotta Adam and Eve for scanning
Several Direct Dimensions employees decided to load up our 3D scanners and see how we could be involved. We ultimately ended up working on two projects, George Crowdsourcington and our own Team Scantasia.

For our own project, Team Scantasia, we decided to 3D scan and model as many pieces from the museum's collection as we could. We scanned ancient Egyptian statuary, a terra cotta Adam and Eve and even a suit of armor. These 3D models will ultimately be used to create 3D content for the Walters' website and can already be viewed on our sketchfab site.

For George Crowdsourcington we 3D scanned a sculpture of George Washington that is being temporarily housed by the Walters. The sculpture was then modeled and sectioned into a 110 pieces. These 110 sections are available to be downloaded on a corresponding website. The end goal is to have members of the maker community each download and print a piece on their personal 3D printers and then send them to a central location where a full sized, crowd-sourced replica will be assembled.