A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to the Autodesk / Bluegfx Roadshow in Manchester. This was mostly to show us Maya / Max / Mudbox / Softimage 2014.
There were many great new things demonstrated (2014 has new content than usual in an update), but this was immediate use to me personally.
Firstly, Autodesk 360 is their cloud environment. You can upload your work to access anywhere that you have an internet connection, and allow others to look at it / use it too.
Autodesk ReCap Photo is the new, still being tested (but you can use it anyway) method of scanning in a real world object to use in a CGI environment. This technique will give you a detailed mesh WITH TEXTURES.
All you do is photograph the object, building or room interior with a digital camera (preferably with a wide angle lens; 10 mm is best), upload it to Autodesk 360, and in under two hours they extract a 3D model, stitch the textures and put it in the cloud for you as a zipped folder.
ReCap Photo will come as standard in the Entertainment Suit; so anyone at Staffordshire University Animation courses will be able to use it.
Below you can see my tests so far.
This is a clay sculpt less than a foot high. You can see where the camera was for each photo by the little icons.
You have to do high and low angle pictures, about 5 degrees spacing for each one as you more around. The stitching system is very intuitive and you can add close ups of important areas.
This mesh was over 540k triangles.
You can put it into another to retopologise and make the mesh into quads.
The photographs were done in poor sunlight, check the Frankenstein ones below to see the improvement when it was brighter.
One thing to bare in mind is that unlike a scanning table where you turn the model; with this technique the camera has to more around so that the lighting remains constant of the creation of textures.
I am going to use one of the other new tools; Quad Draw. You can make the mesh a template layer and use it as it is. Quad draw allows you to place vertices on the surface of the mesh , then join then as polygons.
This is a fast and extremely powerful way of building new characters, and you have absolute control over polygon shapes, spacing and configurations.
There is now an App that allows you to access and view Autodesk 360 files. I was able to see the proxy version of these textured meshes and spin then around on a Nexus tablet (not know for their processing power).
The images below show the second test. This was done in much brighter light.
I only took twenty images, mostly from the front, to see how it would look. The result is amazing.
This is the model below (proxy mesh, only 200K triangles).
I am hoping to finish the character sculpt and scan again, with strong studio lights.
Obviously I will be using this for my own work from now on, and in teaching, as it greatly adds to the potential of the more craft based students as far as working on CGI goes. No bad thing.