Artec 3D Scanners Bring Zombie Invasion to the Big Screen
August 21, 2013

Artec 3D Scanners Bring Zombie Invasion to the Big Screen

Zombies are indeed popular, but bringing them to life, so to speak, can be tricky.
WWZ Costume Scans 2h3D

2h3D Ltd, based near the Pinewood and Shepperton Studios in the UK, has a film and TV credit list stretching back 15 years. Their work includes Hollywood blockbusters and award-winning projects such as Doctor Who, Golden Compass, Harry Potter, and Sherlock Holmes, to name a few. During World War Z preproduction, 2h3D was approached by the film's VFX department to discuss how they might assist in the digital capture of assets for the production, including sets and locations, bodies, costumes, vehicles, and props. The company then worked alongside the VFX department at various locations in Malta, Hungary, Scotland, and England, as well as at Shepperton and Elstree Studios, to deliver close to 100 digital assets to be used in the film.

World War Z is a horror film that recently premiered in movie theaters worldwide to rave reviews. The film, directed by Marc Forster, was based on the 2006 Max Brooks  novel of the same name. The film stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator who must find a way to stop a  zombie-like pandemic, traveling around the globe to fight this threat to humanity.

To bring the story to the silver screen, Artec scanners were used to digitize weapons, multiple baggage items for the plane crash scene, as well as actors and their elaborate costumes.

WWZ Baggage Scans 2h3D

For scanning, one Artec MHT (for heads/faces and props) and one Artec L (for bodies) were used, in conjunction with a motorized turntable. Capture of each performer took less than five minutes, and head scans were done in less than a minute. Then, Artec Studio was used to process and edit the scan data before exporting the fused model into other software for processing and poly-sculpting.

2h3d allocated two days for processing/editing of each full body, including merging the higher-resolution head scan with the body data. Sometimes this process took less time, sometimes more - it depended on how still the subject stood and how complex his/her outfit was.

In the words of Guy Hauldren, director of 2h3D Ltd. and head of scanning for World War Z: "Considering the quantity of scanning subjects, the numerous locations, the cramped areas we were expected to set up in, and the often narrow setup and capture window, Artec scanners were the only feasible option. With a plug-and-play USB interface and no calibration, they are the perfect tool to use in the often chaotic world of film production. We were delighted with their usability in the field and the resultant data back at the studio, and we continue to utilize them heavily in all our feature production work."