H2O scan top.jpg (2597 bytes)

This is a short tutorial on how I used colored water to create 3D meshes of objects.   For my first try I used a small plastic elephant.  I painted the elephant flat white and placed it in a white bowl.  I added some black dye to some water and filled the bowl until it just covered the elephant.

H2O scan side.jpg (1857 bytes)

I positioned a video camera directly above the bowl.  The elephant can be seen in this cut-away diagram.  Several lights were used to illuminate the elephant evenly.   The white bowl helped even out the lighting.

H2O scan photo.jpg (2676 bytes)

I used a Snappy video frame grabber to capture a picture of the elephant.  The parts of the elephant that were closer to the surface of the water were lighter than those deeper in the water.  A photo/paint program was used to help adjust the brightness range.

H2O scan mesh.jpg (4065 bytes)

The image of the elephant was converted into a 3D mesh using a height map to object mesh utility in trueSpace.  The mesh was trimmed using Boolean operations to create a "half-elephant" mesh.

H2O scan result.jpg (4490 bytes)

Here is the "half-elephant" mesh in a simple scene.  A simple grey texture has been applied to the elephant.  All of the details on the elephant (the eye, tusk, ear, etc.) are from variations in the mesh.

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