- Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005
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Gil Baron, 3-D technical supervisor at Santa Monica-based Method Studios, reported that there are two reasons that Eyetronics has a great place in advertising production: "One is accuracy; the other is speed. Commercials are getting more exacting and turnaround is getting more compressed, so those are issues."
Eyetronics is a Redondo Beach, Calif.-based company that specializes in high-quality 3-D acquisition systems and services that enable faster production of 3-D models, animation and special effects. Its 3-D scanning services can be used for a wide range of applications, including complex visual effects for feature films, television and commercials, as well as realistic character generation for computer games.
Among its services, Eyetronics' team is available to go on set or on location with its portable Shapecam system to do scans during a production. Alternatively, scans can be achieved in a separate setting along the lines of a photo shoot.
Simultaneously, the Shapecam system captures 3-D geometry and high-resolution textures. Then Eyetronics makes the scans animation-ready in any file format. "We can provide an animated polymesh, subdivided surface mesh or NURBS mesh that would be fully re-textured, so they don't have to; texture maps include displacement maps or normal mattes," explained Eyetronics VP of operations Nick Tesi.
Eyetronics' services have been used on production of 2005 films including Elecktra and The Ice Princess, as well as highly anticipated summer releases Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Batman Begins. Meanwhile, television series such as Alias and Star Trek: Enterprise have utilized the system.
Eyetronics technology has also played a prominent role in commercial work. For instance, the service was used to scan roughly 30 actors for the production of "Network," a British Telecom spot that was nominated for a 2005 Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for best achievement in a commercial. Santa Monica-based The Syndicate/café FX produced the effects.
Also, Method Studios has used Eyetronics' services for projects such as BBDO New York's Mountain Dew "Spy versus Spy" campaign (the initial centerpiece spot in the package earned SHOOT Top Spot honors last year).
Method has been using Eyetronics' technology and services on a fairly steady basis, in order to increase quality and productivity.
"I use Eyetronics mostly to have a really accurate scan, especially for actors, to be sure that we are as precise as possible," related Method's 3-D creative director Laurent Ledru. "Otherwise you would scan and then do textures by hand, which is a lot more time consuming and not as precise. [With Eyetronics] you are capturing geometry and textures at the same time. Historically when you work by hand, the models and textures don't always fit together, because they are done separately."
Eyetronics' services were used recently on an international spot for Gatorade titled "Better Than Water" from Element 79 Partners, Chicago; directing team Radish helmed the spots via bicoastal Go Film. The complex visual effects spot features CG water characters playing soccer. During production, Eyetronics came on set with its portable system and did full body scans of the soccer players during breaks in the shoot.
"The scanning fit in during the shoot," explained Method's Baron. "Traditionally it would have taken much longer, so it had a lighter impact [on the schedule]."
"Its one of the best scanners I've ever seen," added Ledru, who estimated that in order to be as detailed as the Eyetronics scans, it would have taken four or five days working by hand--just on the faces--and still might not have been as precise.
Baron added, "With Eyetronics, more than any company I've had experience with, we spend more time fitting stuff in [to the shots] than cleaning up the scans."
That was especially helpful, Baron recalled, on a recent BBDO New York spot for Mountain Dew titled "Change", which required a very quick turnaround. He reported that they used Eyetronics to scan featured cars, and as a result, "We were able to focus on animation and had a great head start in the pipeline." Directing team Traktor helmed the spot through its Traktor shop in Santa Monica.