The movie industry has adopted three-dimensional scanning in a big way. There have been a number of movies that have utilized data from three-dimensional imaging devices to create backdrops or cool scenery. Some of these scenes are as unusual as the scanning electron microscope images used for planetary landscapes while flying shuttlecraft through them in one of the Star Trek movies. Another, more simple but widely utilized technique, has been showing CAD drawings being rotated, depicting wire frame renderings of three-dimensional structures.
Scanning technology is now being adopted for far more practical uses. Optech and its service provider customers have been involved in supplying their ILRIS-3D laser scanners and specialized software for tasks ranging from creating photo-realistic backdrops in real color, to providing continuity shots for scenes which require long shooting times and multiple setups.
The advantage of the ILRIS-3D in these applications is that rather than a simple two-dimensional photograph, there is now a true three-dimensional "point cloud" of data which can be visualized from any angle, showing exact placement of objects within the scene. A natural extension to this is adding true color by "texture mapping" or draping a color photograph on top of the grayscale point cloud with Optech's "TexCapture" software module.
Developers of video games are also beginning to appreciate the power of Optech's ILRIS-3D scanners by exploring the incorporation of scanned data into games. Imagine being able to drive a racecar along a track which is not just a flat road, but an actual scanned model of existing tracks and roadways. Using the ILRIS-3D laser scanner, it is possible to create models, which have details accurate to within 3 millimeters at a range of 100 meters, so you can actually feel the tarmac the same way that professional drivers can. Golf courses can now be accurately modeled to ensure tough professional golf standards in course layout are met, so game players encounter the same terrain as the pros.
Optech, November 14, 2003