Inside Brainiac: 3D Scanning

3D Scanning in progress

Brainiac isn’t strapped on – Brainiac isn’t held in place with a suction cup. Your vehicle’s new brain needs to look factory installed. Your current dashboard has reaching swept curves – but no hole that is going to show off a 10.1″ portrait screen. Brainiac isn’t going too look factory installed without some replacement dashboard plastics.

We’ve engaged the services of Matthew Law from to make this happen. Read on to see our first steps into realizing Brainiac’s custom plastics.

Why 3D Scanning?

Anyone who’s attempted 3D modelling – for design, animation or fun – can attest to the fact that placing a cylinder and cube in 3D space is pretty easy. However – it takes real skills and practice to make functional real world models. Car dashboards typically contain lots of curves, slopes and connectors. Without the right angles and style – no replacement piece will look like it truly belongs there.

Take anything physical and turn it into virtual and design from it.

3D scanning brings into the computer what the designers / artists / sculptors produced when they designed the interior.

We interviewed Matthew to discuss 3D scanning – and added some of the scanning process into the mix.

3D Scanning – Making it Work

The first thing we needed was an extra dashboard. Scanning inside a car isn’t particularly easy. You need to get behind pieces which is really difficult, and sometimes impossible, with seats and steering wheels (and the rest of the car) in the way. The manual/standard and automatic transmission vehicles have different shaped shifters and plates to match – so we needed to have these scanned as well.

Flex and sag come into play. When the intereior pieces are mounted in a vehicle, they lean on each other and the floor. In the video above you can see that red “Tuck Tape” and jack stands are holding the pieces at the proper angle we need to get everything nice and square.

Once we were happy with the way the larger pieces were mounted – the ML24 team covered everything with target stickers. The first pass of the scanner uses these to get a basic structure of the space you’re working in. These serve almost the same purpose as the green or blue dots you see Andy Serkis wearing all the time. It’s easier for the computer to track a distinct point.

Dots Everywhere The target stickers have been placed on the work area and the pieces which are being scanned.

The Result

After reading the basic structure – a surface scan is performed. The result from the scan is incredibly detailed. Matthew mentions in the video that their equipment is accurate to 40µm. Every scratch. Every wrinkle. Some dust. The lip of the “Tuck Tape”. The leather patterning. And in some cases where the surface scan wasn’t complete – gaps.

Grid of 15 models captured by the scanner

Some of the models captured by the scanning.

For most work – the model is actually too detailed. Editing with that many triangles isn’t feasible.

Too many triangles

This takes us to the next steps; Resurfacing and reverse engineering. Stay tuned to see what happens to our models next!

One Comment on “Inside Brainiac: 3D Scanning

  1. Pingback: Inside Brainiac: Resurfacing and Modeling | Workshop 12

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