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R&D
Disney Research Zurich

3D Printing technology helps Disney to design realistic human eye models


Last year, at SIGGRAPH 2013, Disney unveiled 3D printed eyes for animated characters, which was hailed as a design breakthrough. Now, only one year later, Disney is at it again with a new process for capturing extremely realistic human eyes.
Ibercampus 9/12/2014 Send to a friend
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Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich has broken new ground on realistic portrayal of the human eye for its productions. In a recent paper titled “High Quality Capture of Human Eyes,” presented at SIGGRAPH ASIA 2014, Disney Research announced that, with the help of 3D printing technology, they have managed to capture many of the details — like textures, coloring, and veins — which can greatly enhance characters’ appearances and give themdisneyresearch more realistic and expressive characteristics. Members of the team working on the eye study — including Derek Bradley, Maurizio Nitti, Thabo Beeler, and Markus Gross — have good cause to be proud of their progress.

 This new process certainly provides more appearance options for digitized eyes. It will be especially useful when digitizing a double of a real person, for example.




To get enough data, the team used six cameras, including 100mm macro lenses focussed on the iris. Flash lighting using different levels of brightness and coloured LEDs were chosen to get different effects reflecting off the cornea, and actors were asked to lie on the floor wearing a headset during the process.

Eleven poses were used all together, and the whole thing took about 20 minutes to complete. Images were stitched together to begin to form the basis of the eye movement -- for instance, the team found ten images was enough to get the information to replicate iris deformation, while 140 were needed in total. A facial scanning system designed to reconstruct skin was used to generate the eye model.

The main achievement has been to model how the iris responds to light, which is probably the most obvious change to the eye we all notice day to day. The team is now working on other changes to the sclera and cornea.

The technology could help bring characters to life in games and on film, potentially using the voice actors as models to bring more of their character into the medium.

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