3D Scanning, Stanford, and You

I am in the midst of a thrilling new project involving 3D scanning and reality computing.  I’ve been selected to join the Innovators Program of the Stanford Creative Ignition Lab. Our mission is to explore developing technologies such as reality capture and augmented reality as they relate to the creative process and to innovate real world solutions.

As it happens, I have been using the core technology for some time in my own creative work.  The lab is hosted at Autodesk, where we have been exploring the use of a piece of Beta-stage software called Memento.  Currently available as a free download, Memento allows users of minimal technical ability to create photo-realistic 3D models using either plain photos or data from a digital scanner as input.

Since I don’t have a 3D scanner yet, I have been a heavy user of the photogrammetry features.  If you are not familiar with photogrammetry, it is the use of cross-referencing of two or more photos to infer distance measurements to and between every visable point in the photos. It is a technique that has long been used to manually calculate the location of geographic survey points and it has now been adapted to create detailed and accurate 3D models that can be used for digital fabrication, animation, and much more.

You may remember the bronze belt buckle I made for my friend Dan–the one with his face superimposed on a foreboding cityscape with lightning in the background.  I created the model of his face using 17 hastily captured photos and the “Create 3D” photo function in Memento.  To that I added a few sketch-up models for the cityscape and combined the whole thing in Zbrush. Finally, I brought the whole model back into Memento to use it’s automated mesh repair to ensure that my model was 3D printable.

So where do you come in?  We at the Stanford Creative Ignition Lab want your input!  Download Memento for free and try it out!  Send me an email at [email protected] and let me know if you like it or not.  We would love to follow up with you with a brief survey to gather your opinions.

What would you use Memento for?  Let us know!  What features would you like to see in Memento? Please tell us!

I’ll be posting a bit more about Memento, but for now I’ll leave you with a bit of media.  Here is a model I made of a carved wooden lizard that you can navigate in 3D and even download to 3D print:

Here is a shot of the 3D printed lizard–after only two simple operations in Memento:
Printed Lizard
Here is a video of the Fox Theater in Oakland which has been automatically generated from within Memento: