Updated: Feb 3, 2020
The content for HOLOFIL is created using 3D modeling and animation softwares. The 3D word here means the original design in which the content is created and not necessarily how it is projected in the device. In this post we explain how the 3D content for HOLOFIL is created and related terminologies such as what is 3D visualization, how is holography content created, what is a 3D modeling software, what is a 3D model viewer etc. We also showcase what it means to have a hologram project in the context of Holofil.
Think about it like 2D vs 3D software design programs. When you draw on a paper or in Microsoft paint on your computer you are using a 2D canvas in which you only have X and Y planes that is the two dimensions. A 3D software has a basic construct called the 3D model, which you can turn around to see the other side of it that is not visible to you otherwise. You can not turn your paper based drawing to see what is behind it, but in 3D softwares you can turn the content to see it from all the sides. That is what basically makes them 3D because now you are dealing with three dimensions X,Y, and Z.
(If you want to understand what is 3D model practically like the above 3D model, screenshot from our 3D model viewer Android app, please install our app from below to try the 3D model experimentation on your Android smartphone. We would appreciate if you rate it, and review to help it spread on the play-store further)
The standard softwares for designing 3D visualizations are 3D studio Max, Maya, Cinema4D, Blender, etc. There are many more, but these are the standard ones. Then there are special softwares that can further assist in giving special effects such as Keyshot, Adobe after effects etc.
Below is a screen-shot of the 3D model of the girl above as she is being modeled in Cinema4D 3D modeling software.
The steps involved in creating a 3D visualization animation is first create a 3D model in the modeling software like above. Then the next process is animating this 3D model to create different motion effects. Now, the 3D models that you have got can be of three types
1. Solid body
A solid body 3D model is any kind of product that is non-living and that has a solid surface. For e.g. your phone's 3D model when designed in such software will be a solid body 3D model. The character models are models that have life, that is they are living organisms and have skeleton inside them. Organic models are free flowing shapes / sizes of solid body objects that have dynamic artistic shapes, for e.g. a leaf can be considered a organic model, a tree can be considered an organic model.
1. Solid body - The solid body 3D models also have different types, the first important one being whether its an engineering product like say an aircraft engine, where the precision of the dimensions matter. If you are designing such a product, then you are probably a product designer and you will be using highly special softwares for engineering product designs such as AutoCAD, Solidworks, Rhino etc. (CAD - Computer Aided Design) . These softwares have special tools that allows creation of engineering objects in much more faster way in a more precise way than softwares such as 3D studio max, Cinema4D, Maya etc. which are more used for artistic or game oriented or environmental models.
2. Character models - Character models also need skeleton inside them. For e.g. in the girl model above, you can see a skeleton inside her body with joints etc. The process of creation of this skeleton is called Rigging a model. Rigging itself can become complex depending on the complexity of the model and other stuff. Once the 3D model is rigged the next step is animating these rigged models. Now this can be very complex because animating a living organism can be very complex because the animation has to match its natural style of behavior like walking, dancing, jumping etc. If it does not go well, the animation will look weird. One of the most common techniques to get the animations correct is motion tracking. In motion tracking a real person wears a motion tracking suit with sensors over the suit that tracks the motion and then this motion captured is then transferred on a character model. Most hollywood movies that you see that have CGI are done using this technique.
Texturing and animation - Once a 3D model is created, then you have to create texture on it. Texture is the skin on the model to make sure it looks like the real life object that the model represents. Once the texture is placed then it has to be animated further by using different techniques as described above. The process of creating the final animation (movie) is called rendering of animation. Rendering is the process where the computer goes over the entire sequence of animation and creates the correct lighting, moves and exports it into movie format frame by frame. This process can takes enormous time based on the complexity of the animation, the texture complexity, the lighting involved and needs huge computer power. Many times dedicated GPU / computer server farms are used to make this process faster.
To fasten the process, many times ready made 3D models are used if they are available to purchase and then the initial step of 3D model creation is removed and can make the process faster. You can also create 3D models using 3D scanning. There are various types of 3D scanning devices available ranging from a few hundred euros to thousands of euros. Some that might interest you are here Bellus3D (Face scanner), Structure 3d scanner, etc. You can also use your phone to create 3D models by using apps that use photogrammetry technique to take 360 overlapping photos and then combine these photos in software to bulid the 3d model of the object. We will write another post about 3d scanning later because its a process in itself.
So this is how you can create a final animation from a 3D model design to final animation. So this requires special skill sets to be able to create a perfect looking content. Beside this, each device in which this 3D content is played has its own specifications, so the visualization has to be tuned further to match the requirements to look the best in that specific device. For e.g. the content requirements for HOLOFIL in terms of how the animation moves, looks etc are different for HOLOFL than for a VR headset content, even though the base model might be the same. So this is where the device specific requirements to create content comes into picture.
Do you understand why 3D visualizations can be expensive now? They require special skills and take a lot of time. They are not as simple as taking a video camera and shooting the video and uploading it on the Youtube :-) There is a pipeline of different stages involved that have to be done to get the final animation. The prices of the content can greatly vary depending on the type of 3D modelling, and animation and can not be predetermined because every case of 3D visualization is different. However, with the advent of technology soon we will have phone cameras that are capable of generating 3D content directly. IPhone X is an example where the phone has a built in 3D camera to generate 3D content. Recently Huawei launched a new phone Mate 20 Pro that can do amazing 3D scanning and content generation, (movie preview here) so we expect soon there will be a lot of 3D content generation capability in your smart phone camera itself that will make it easy to generate 3D content further for consumers directly.
At HOLOFIL we intend to offer the best 3D visualization affordable rates to our clients and hopefully now that you understand why they can cost what they cost.
So now you understand how the 3d content creation is done. If you have more questions, ask us.