3D Scanning

I’ve come across this really interesting 3D scanning technique before – but I’ve now spent a bit more time following the various links and exploring it in more detail…


I’m keen to try it for myself and wonder if a ‘micro’ projector such as the Optoma Pico PK 101 DLP and IPEVO Point 2 View USB webcam and/or ‘tricked out’ PS3 Eye Webcam could be a compact and affordable solution – and possibly for live performance too?

There’s a good overview of the technique in the May 2008 post Turn a webcam and projector into a 3D scanner which also provides some Processing applets and code examples and lists useful references and links.

I’ve since been able to run this code locally (by unpacking the .jar files and copying the ‘data’ folder into the Processing sketch) – but I can’t get Myron“the cross-platform, cross-language, open source, video capture and computer vision plugin” to run on my MacBook – though it looks like it’s been around quite a while and I may just try and replace it with OpenCV.

However, I first came across the technique via the Three Phase 3D Scanner sketch in Kyle McDonald’s openprocessing.org portfolio (it’s well worth checking out this and his other work) – “Technique from Song Zhang, coded in C++ by Alex Evans, ported to Processing by Florian Jennet. I rewrote the code and got rid of things that were unnecessary or didn’t work. The original had a little less noise. I extrapolated out three variables instead of trying to compute them: zskew, zscale, and noiseTolerance.”

Following the comments trail led me to the original post by Alex Evans on the games agency Media Molecule website – homebrew 3d scanner – which he coded in C++ with comments from Florian Jennet – and though the link to this original Processing port is no longer valid Kyle has since added a link to an alternative version.

Alex references the David-Laserscanner website which provides a low cost (though PC only) solution for creating 3d meshes using “just a laser pointer, a computer and a webcam”. However, the David-Laserscanner forum – and particularly the ‘Third-Party Hard- and Software’ section is a really useful resource and discussion space for all things 3d scanning related.

Kyle has since moved the technique on considerably and is now able to create real-time 3D scans… see some of his amazing video documentation at his Vimeo site… and has open sourced the technique through the Structured Light 3D Scanning wiki which “acts as a resource for people interested in creating their own structured light systems or using those of others” and is “coupled with a google code project that is developing structured light scanning utilities” featuring the latest developments from community contributors such asGunter Weber. It includes a thorough listing of Implementations – some not mentioned above…

In a fey convergence of interests, visuals artists Prickimage and Barry Murphy are planning to implement this technique for a Cybersonica curated performance at Kinetica Art Fair on Saturday, 6th February using the Musion Eyeliner 3D holographic projection system – and Kyle has generously offered advice and support in helping to realise this idea. Looking forward to it…

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