Extremely Detailed Hand Scan

Scanning, Animation & VFX

Scans are commonly used to generate a 3D model of a real world object. That object can be an actor's face, a set, a car part that is being reverse engineered, a crime scene, a fossil, a dental impression...the list is endless.

We decided to see how far we could push the technology, and used our Mephisto Ex Micro structured light scanner to create an extremely detailed hand scan.

There are two challenges right off the bat. Firstly I would need to take multiple scans to ensure adequate coverage of every area. I knew that it would be impossible to keep the hand in the same position for shot after shot. Human subjects are notoriously difficult because flesh and blood is mobile. Secondly, skin doesn't reflect all light equally. Some penetrates further into the skin before being reflected which makes for errors we could ill afford.

To overcome the challenge of translucency, I would usually spray an object with a (removable) uniform white coating. However that still left the movement as an issue, so I decided to take a high resolution cast of the hand using dental alginate and high quality plaster.

With the Mephisto on maximum resolution, I was able to get stunning detail in the scans. The difficulty came in getting coverage in the tricky areas - particularly between the fingers.

Stitching the sections together proved to be the key as even tiny errors would multiply through the mesh. Judicious trimming and iterative improvements lead to a mesh with 10.5 million polygons and incredible detail where fingerprints can clearly be discerned.

The end product is a watertight mesh that has been printed and manipulated in a variety of ways.

The same scanner was later used to scan Jason Statham's head for the movie Killer Elite