Friendship & French Fries

A podcast & blog about life and the creative pursuit of happiness

[Identity Distillation] The Process

[Identity Distillation] The Process

I’ve spent the last two weeks immersed in the lovely world of photogrammetry and 3D modeling. It’s a lot of work, but I love it.

After my project proposal idea got approved, I sat down with Alexander and James once more to talk it out. We hashed through some concepts and ideas, but landed on one I really like:

The process of identity distillation (as I’m calling it) and how many times I can smooth down a face until you lose the essence of who that person is, and the features that make them themselves. 
I decided to use this exploration by using two brothers, and also see whether or not you would be able to tell them apart after a couple of passes.

I embarked on my journey and took around 70 pictures of both of the brothers. Imported them into PhotoScan and started cleaning them up. I made sure to pay close attention to the point and dense cloud to make sure I would end up with good model. I think they came out pretty well!

Computational Portraiture – PhotoScan WIP from Paula Ceballos on Vimeo.


Once I was happy with 3D model of both my faces, I proceeded to smooth them down to get my actual identity distillation effect. I had tried decimation first, and although I like the look that came out, it wasn’t actually was I was looking for.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 2.28.52 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 2.29.50 PM

I went back to the beginning and tried it in Meshmixer, Meshlab, PhotoScan and finally back in Meshmixer. This little run around took a while but after settling on Meshmixer again, I went through the process of smoothing, which was surprisingly quick once I figured out exactly what to do and what to do it.
The older brother’s face was a breeze (picture above). Everything smoothed down without a problem and I did seven versions of it.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 11.57.53 AM

The younger brother’s face was another story. Because of his eyelashes, his eyes came out more than noise than anything else. I had to smooth them down and the original scan lost a bit of the detail that I had wanted. Hence, all the other models lost eye detail as well. The biggest problem was his curly hair and beard though. The hair is unruly and creates a surface on the model that originally looks great, but when smoothing it down confuses the program and creates GIANT holes than then need fixing. ::sigh::

so many holes
so many holes

I spent so much time trying to figure out how to fix the holes I fell behind and wasn’t able to finish all the masks. I still wanted to print something out for class so I opted to get the older brother’s detailed face in, at least. Getting the files ready to print was a bitch. I don’t know what the problem was with the Meshmixer, but it kept crashing on me. Any time I tried to do anything it would let me and preview it, but if I hit “accept” the program would crash. I spent a good 3 hours going through this and trying to figure out work-arounds to make it work.

Finally, one of the second years on the floor has Z-brush and he helped me prep the file for print. Once we did that, we moved on to the Maker Bot and after 6 tries, we managed to get one successful print!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top