Taking CGI to the next level

3D Scanners UK helps Postworks Media to take CGI to the next level

Engineers assist in replacing traditional photographs for CGI in a series of Honda brochures.

Postworks Media specialises in the production of high-end, high resolution Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) for marketing literature and has clients ranging from advertising agencies to the automotive and electronic industries. Working from client data, physical product or reference imagery, Postworks Media produces the highest possible level of detail and accuracy, allowing it to create world leading CGI.

When Honda Motor Europe (HME) asked advertising agency Nexus/H UK to demonstrate whether Computer Generated Imagery had matured sufficiently to replace photography in high quality printed brochures, Nexus/H turned to Postworks Media.

With a proven track record in producing highly detailed 3D models cost-effectively, Postworks Media worked closely with Nexus/H on an initial technology-proving project. 3D scan data from a previous client proved to be inaccurate and very difficult to resurface or otherwise work with, forcing Postworks Media to work by eye once again.

Despite this set back, the project was a success and Postworks Media was commissioned by Nexus/H and Honda to produce Computer Generate Images for a series of Honda brochures, but this time they approached 3D Scanners UK.

With the successes of the test project, Postworks Media set about improving the technical and creative workflow - the key technical issue being the quality of scan data.

Before scanning commenced on the Honda S2000, 3D Scanners UK worked very closely with Postworks Media, refining and optimising their approach to scanning and data processing to ensure that the meshes supplied to Postworks Media were suited to the creative process and printed imagery. ‘Customer liason is very important to us. We like to spend time with our customers to understand their specific requirements, and this helps us to achieve the best results.’ Nik Alimaras, Managing Director, 3D Scanners UK.

The S2000 project time-frame was very tight, and the limited edition production car was on a ship somewhere in the Indian Ocean at the time 3D scanning needed to commence, so a previous model was acquired, and all panels and components common to both were tackled first.

The S2000 was 3D scanned on-site at 3D Scanners UK, with an armed based laser scanner. Parts unique to the actual car were scanned once the vehicle was available late in the project.

3d scanning the S2000 with an arm based scanner

The alignment of the smaller components and some of the interior were complex and time consuming, due to the fact that a number of global scans were needed in addition to detailed scans. This allowed 3D Scanners UK to achieve high accuracy on the small parts, and the ability to align them correctly in the final assembly.

The scan data was organised, aligned and meshed in Innovmetric PolyWorks Software. The team then had to edit the individual parts, trimming them back to create sharp edges.

In high-resolution print, attention to detail is critical. For automotive models the lights are especially important, so particular attention was paid to them throughout the project.

Individual light units were carefully disassembled by 3D Scanners UK so that multi-element components could be scanned in high detail, including front and back surfaces of lenses, housing, bulbs and LEDs - everything visible in the final shots.

The scanned point clouds were aligned and meshed with PolyWorks as individual components. These were then aligned to the global scan as a complete lighting assembly in car line and sent to Postworks Media for surfacing.

The assembled S2000 headlight as a polygon model within PolyWorks Modeler Software

Each panel, part and component was resurfaced as a low-resolution polygon cage, from which high-resolution polygon surfaces were created using subdivision-surface algorithms. A major advantage of this approach is that the base model can be easily re-used in different media - such as the web or television. With the agency unable to determine creative or art direction in advance, it was critical that the 3D model be of the highest possible quality and detail, so that high-resolution images could be rendered close-in at any point on the car.

The Polygon model assembly of the interior in PolyWorks Software
A screenshot of the final rendering by Postworks Media.

In a similar way to the lighting assemblies, the interior had to be scanned in small parts to achieve the required accuracy. A global scan was also carried out to make sure that the interior was assembled in the correct co-ordinate system.

Screenshots above: The complete assembly in Polyworks Modeler Software

Once all the parts were surfaced, the complete S2000 was assembled in Autodesk Maya, and basic materials were applied. The complete car was then taken into the render system, Bunkspeed Hypershot, where detailed, accurate ‘real-world’ materials were created.

The images here, (below & at the top of this page) are the original renderings by Postworks Media: