how To scan someone in less Than 5 minutes
Don’t have access to a photogrammetry camera array? No problem, these tips and tricks will show you how to capture an actor quickly with great results
Imagine you’re on location with little equipment and only a few minutes with your actor. Getting an accurate scan and generating a useable CG model is now possible with just a smartphone and a laptop running Agisoft Photoscan software.
La-based Emmy and VES Award-winning visual effects artist, Johnathan R Banta, from Agrapha Productions (http://
agraphafx.com), breaks down his five-step ‘Rapidcapture’ photogrammetry process, taking advantage of professional tools.
STEP 1. GET the actor ready
Have your actor sit or stand (either is fine as long as they remain stable) and fix their gaze on a point in the near distance.
Try to avoid direct sunlight or hard shadows. Our example here was in a room with fluorescent tube lights, but any ambient illumination is fine.
Clothing does not matter too much, but try to avoid solid colours, especially white, as the photogrammetry software finds this harder to solve (in our example, the subject did in fact have a white shirt on).
STEP 2. capture your actor
Use any camera app on your smartphone (or use any camera). Try an app that lets you fix exposure for better results.
In this example, we captured a ‘hockey mask’ portion of the actor’s face with just 15 photographs following a geodesic capture pattern at a consistent distance from the actor. Starting at a 45-degree angle to your subject, take a total of 15 photographs in a ‘pluscross-plus’ configuration.
Johnathan R Banta (right) captures the subject, R Brent Adams, using quick-fire photogrammetry.