Introducing the Creaform Handyscan Black Elite
Laser scanning done at incredible speed
Recently, the laser scanners I ordered for our new labs at Staffordshire University have begun arriving. No small relief, given that Freshers literally start today.
One such scanner is the HandyScan Black Elite. This is a mind-blowing piece of kit, capable of scanning medium to large objects in a matter of minutes. This includes reflective surfaces, such as chrome, or my head in a week if any more new students ask me “Where is room number TBA?”.
I criticise, but I walked into Sainsbury’s on Saturday without realising how or why. I bought a curry and a wooden spoon out of shame.
Yes, the HandyScan is amazing. But don’t take it from me, take it from their promotional video. The music is really exciting:
The bit where you see the objects being scanned in the background - not bullshit. It's genuinely that fast.
Laser scanning my face into id Tech 4
They look okay. Nothing to lose your mind over, but cool given how quickly they all came together.
But Unreal Engine 4 is built for this sort of thing. It is regularly updated and enhanced to squeeze out incredible visuals. I wanted to see how the mesh looked in an older game engine.
Obviously I was going to go with id Tech 4. Because I’m one of four people on the planet who loves Doom 3.
Having been released in 2004, id Tech 4 is a more limited engine and importing custom content isn’t as easy as UE4.
Therefore, a couple of tweaks had to be made to the process.
2004 – When game engines weren’t exactly ‘accessible’
First, I had to import the OBJ into 3ds Max and export as an ASE. This is the format id Tech 4 reads meshes in and none of the Maya exporters I found worked.
This ASE file then needed to be opened in a text editor and a reference to the material I wished to use, was entered manually.
The engine actually didn’t struggle with the polycount. It rendered the same mesh I used in Unreal Engine 4 perfectly fine, which I was surprised by. I thought the excessive polygons may have caused it to crash.
I experimented with different lighting structures, material references and UV layouts in the following screenshots.
So yeah, that’s how quickly laser scanning a face into a game engine can be done.
Although further steps were required for id Tech 4, we’re only talking another five or so minutes added to the process. I’m quite impressed with how the mesh looked in this engine. The holes caused issues with the textures and lighting, but aesthetically I’d say this only added to the experimental feel.
Hopefully in the coming months, I’ll be able to share far more detailed, visually impressive work utilising this process.
I emphasise hopefully.