Disney Research Zurich develop hair for 3D printed figurines
It’s been a busy week for researchers at Disney. After defying physics to create impossible spinning tops, the team at Disney Research in Zurich have now managed to break through one of the most difficult aspects of 3D scanning, with a new scanning technique for accurately capturing hairstyles.
Taking inspiration from artist Michelangelo, who when sculpting would produce hairstyles using a solid helmet like formation, Disney Research and the University of Zaragoza, have harnessed a way of incorporating this into 3D printed figurines.
At present, when scanning an actual person, hair is beyond the capabilities of most 3D scanning systems which leads to hairstyles representing rough ideas of the original subject or even requiring later touch ups with pre-existing templates. Though current machines do not possess the ability to reproduce hairstyles fibre by fibre, Disney researchers were interested in developing a way of retaining the appearance of directional wisps and the overall flow of hair.
Dr. Derek Bradley, associate research scientist at Disney Research Zurich, said, “Almost as much as the face, a person’s hairstyle is a defining characteristic of an individual. The resulting figurine loses a degree of realism when the individual’s hairstyle isn’t adequately captured.”
The method works by beginning with several colour images captured of the subjects head and the system then computes a coarse map of the hair’s surface. Exact colour information is then added to the image and the model is reduced to a level of detail which will allow the image to be miniaturised without losing the hair’s defining features.
The new method was presented this week at the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Vancouver. Researchers demonstrated by scanning several hairstyles from two models which proved to be completely identifiable once captured. The method can also be used to scan and reproduce facial hair and even animal fur.