3-D Face Scanning

Posted on February 26, 2007

3D Face Wired reporter Alexander Gelfand writes about how he had his face immortalized using new 3-D scanning technology.
First, I took a seat in front of two scanners -- one for each side of my face.

The faceScan III projected a series of light and dark bands to establish the contours of my face. The scanner's optoScan software used that information to generate a slightly patchy 3-D image of my noble visage.

The resulting image file was then passed along to a row of digital artists who primped and tweaked it before sending it to the rapid prototyping machine that would ultimately generate my miniature bust.

(My data could have been further enhanced using a SensAble Technologies Phantom, a haptic sculpting tool, and its accompanying FreeForm software. Together, these allow you to "mold" 3-D images as if they were made of physical clay, painlessly filling out those thin lips and removing any unsightly boils. Alas, my image was left in its natural, sorry state.)

There's two steps to the process. The software that scans and renders the facial features and the 3-D modeling technology that can produce plastic replicas of an individual's face. They could also product action figures or other toys using a person's face. Accurex, the company doing the 3-D face portraits at American International Toy Fair, believes these 3-D photo booths will one day be common in stores and amusement parks. You can see some more photos of the modeling here.

Photo: Alexander Gelfand/Wired

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