Scanning 101st airborne division trooper (part 1)

Dražen PrimoracPrototyping

There are two principal ways to create 3D models. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the traditional way where you model a 3D object from scratch, based on available photos. The less known way is when you do a 3D scan of “live”models. While the vast majority of our models so far have been done in the traditional way, the very first two - the two different poses of the “hybrid” - were actually done by modifying a model which started its life as a result of “live” 3D scanning. The original was created by Croteam while they were playing and setting up their 3D scan “cage”, and they were kind enough to provide us with the files so that we can modify them and do our prototyping.
N.Korean winter uniform

The potential advantages of using a 3D scan facility were clear - one could reduce the necessary time when making 3D models, given you had access to full equipment and uniforms you needed. While obtaining all these uniforms and equipment would be impossible for us, there are many very serious military reenactment groups in existence. Luckily for us, one of our friends is a big fan of the American 101st airborne division, the Screaming Eagles. His group has been reenacting 101st Airborne for years now, and they have every bit of their kit you can imagine. In their full kit they have visited Normandy and all other battlefields where 101st fought, and have been constantly present at yearly celebrations of these great battles.

3D print of the Austro-Hungarian soldier- FRONT
Getting access to a 3D scan facility proved a bit more difficult than initially thought. At the start we thought we would be able to use one that Croteam built for their needs, but as they finished all the work there for their latest game in the Serious Sam series, COVID struck. They stopped using their offices completely, and the “cage” was dismantled. However, our friends in Croteam did help us locate another such facility, which was set up primarily for computer game startups. We dropped these guys a note, hoping they would give us a hand and let us use their facility - and they did!!! They told us we could come next Saturday, when the facility was basically closed, and do our “thing”. These facilities are not cheap to set up, far from it, so getting access to one based on a few phone calls was a major win!
3D print of the Austro-Hungarian soldier- BACK

We then asked our friend Robi if he could spare a few hours in his full 101st Airborne officer and combat medic kits, and be the mannequin for us. Being the good guy that he is, he agreed. The given Saturday came quickly, so Ozren prepared the car, picked up Robi together with a full trunk of equipment, and off they went to pick up another friend who decided to join us - Admir from Croteam. Admir has been a huge help to us from day one, and without his initial pointers we probably would not be where we are today. After a couple of hours of driving, unpacking and preparing, we started scanning. In the end, a full whole day was spent capturing numerous poses and scanning parts of the equipment separately.

Now it was time to wait for the dedicated software to create 3D models from what is basically a huge amount of photos taken by almost two hundred cameras spread around the cage. We ended the day with the lingering question: would the results be satisfactory and suitable to use for Model Creator?

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