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10450847_625406040905746_5680273212981932513_n3D scanning is already pretty cool. Being able to capture a full, 360 degree image of a person, animal, object or even place, and then instantly digitize it, is an amazing technological accomplishment. It’s also the basis for most virtual reality applications, not to mention proving itself invaluable in medicine, archaeology and more. What could be cooler than 3D scanning? How about…4D scanning?

TimeSlice Films is a London company that provides volumetric capture services for production studios, virtual reality developers and other content creators. Lately they’ve been working on the development of 4D volumetric capture technology, something that’s still very new, and it appears that they’re making some serious progress with it. TimeSlice recently took a 4D scan of company owner Tim Macmillan, and it’s impressive.

Tim, captured in 4D with GoPro
by Timeslice
on Sketchfab

ee8e92a2a28f353dd4cf7454bd5e43c39f8afc5cEven if you’re used to seeing interactive 3D scans by now, 4D is something else. I’ve interacted with plenty of 3D models online, turning them, flipping them, and otherwise moving them around with a click of my mouse. I’ve never seen a model that moves by itself – while I’m also moving it – but that’s what TimeSlice has produced. The brief scan of Macmillan in motion is hosted by Sketchfab, and it’s really quite odd to see a man winking at you repeatedly as you turn him from side to side. Odd, but again, pretty darn cool.

“It’s incredibly exciting that Sketchfab have offered to host an example of our prototype 4D footage. Although early days, it’s fantastic to see they intend to support this type of content.” said Callum Macmillan, Managing Director of TimeSlice Films. “Volumetric capture is a crucial evolution of both the still and moving image. It fundamentally changes visual content creation from a fixed-viewpoint to a free-viewpoint experience. We call this type of content Free Viewpoint Media (FVM) – content that can be viewed from any perspective.”

The technology that TimeSlice has developed involves 53 GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition cameras plus experimental GoPro Sync technology and TimeSlice’s own custom-developed hardware and software, combined to create an impressive 4D volumetric array, the likes of which haven’t been seen before. This first online sample of their 4D scanning capabilities may be a small one, but it’s a sign of bigger things to come in scanning, animation and virtual reality.

“We built Sketchfab because we believe 3D, virtual and augmented reality are changing the ways we consume content, and becoming common media formats like video and sound,” said Alban Denoyel, CEO and co-founder of Sketchfab. “As people like TimeSlice push boundaries of new content creation, we’re proud to be able to support them, and our vision for an interactive future.”

What are your thoughts on this exciting new technology? Discuss in the TimeSlice & 4D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.

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