Material Fidelity Pops with New Scanning Technology
Kyle Maxey posted on February 26, 2016 |
A new 3D scanning technology could make photorealistic rendering much easier.
Rendered leather material.

Rendered leather material.

3D scanning is becoming a popular tool for engineering, design and artistic practices across the globe. 3D scanning allows users to reach into the real world and capture data about an object— usually its geometry, material and kinetics—and transform that data into a digital model.

Today, the use of rendering software in engineering practices is becoming more commonplace. Firms have started to realize that with high-resolution, photorealistic images, products can be market tested on appearance and design reviews can show product details to nonengineers in ways that weren’t possible before.

Although rendering software has made it easier to present ideas, it often takes a lot of skill to make a digital model look as though it were real. One of the most difficult steps in that process is creating believable digital materials.

When creating materials, engineers (forced to channel some artistic wizardry) have to mix and match variables such as color, luminosity, reflectivity, bump mapping and so much more to synthesize a digital texture that matches something observed in the real world. Obviously, this process isn’t easy, and moreover, it can be time consuming, but that’s how rendering materials are created from scratch. However, a new scanning technology may simplify the process.

Chaos Group, a 3D scanning company, has unveiled a new 3D scanning technology, VRscans that can produce exact replicas of physical materials with submillimeter resolution. Using precision optics and proprietary software, VRscans can capture a material’s texture, reflectivity, dimensionality and other characteristics.

Once a material has been scanned, the VRscan software compiles the wealth of data captured in a scan and synthesizes it into a material that can be used to create photorealistic renders in any lighting environment.   

“We’ve dedicated the last 19 years to advancing rendering technology, so designers can trust what they see on their screen,” said Peter Mitev, Chaos Group CEO. “Now they can match the material sample in their hand with the one in their 3D model.”

Although digital material creation will continue to rely on those with keen visual insight to build realistic interpretations of reality, 3D scanning technology such as VRscans will undoubtedly make the job of texturing a model much quicker and easier. 

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