The Project
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DP (Digital Prosthesis for VFX) aimed to leverage 3D scanning, and traditional media techniques for digital visual effects development.

Utilization of traditional methods of actor duplication (plaster casting) combined with 3D scanning techniques for integration into a VFX pipeline.

The plaster casting process was better suited to specific body parts. The static plaster casts generally improved scan fidelity when compared to direct actor scanning.

The Process

Plaster Casting

The first step in creating a highly accurate digital actor replacement is to alginate cast the body parts that will be recreated in our visual effects pipeline. Using alginate and plaster we were able to create a replica of the actors hand and head. We had much more success in casting the hand as it was smaller and easy to encase in alginate.

Laser Scanning

After obtaining plaster casts of our actor’s body parts, we then began to 3D scan them. The laser scanner generates an extremely detailed mesh with ±2mm accuracy. Multiple scans are needed to get the maximum level of accurate detail. These scans are then stitched together and a final mesh is ready to be integrated into our visual effects pipeline.

Pipeline Intergration

The mesh generated from the scan data needs additional processing to fit into a visual effects pipeline. First the geometry needs to be retoplogized, which is the process of taking the original dense geometry and creating a lower resolution mesh with appropriate polygon flow in mind. This is necessary for controlling deformations when rigging and animation. In addition, the finer details from the dense mesh are projected on the lower resolution geometry in the form of a displacement and normal maps.

Post Mortem
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In our project, we needed to use a variety of different techniques to achieve the look we conceptualized. Each shot was unique and required a different approach. Numerous software applications were used during production including Nuke, Maya, Houdini, and PFTrack.

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VFX Team

Nate Lapinski - Website Paul Stokes - Website James Spadafora - Website
Team Lead, VFX, Rigging Animation, Rigging, Audio VFX, Compositing

Additional Credits

Devin Hassan Dan Timlin Theo Artz Jervis Thompson
Director Of Photography Actor, Music Faculty Advisor Faculty Advisor