In our efforts to support 3D data technologies at the Digital Media Lab, we have recently acquired a FARO Focus 3D laser scanner. The Focus 3D is an industry standard scanner that will produce point cloud data suitable for generating useable 3D models.
The scanner shoots a laser beam out that bounces off of the surface of an object and then records these contact points as 3D data in its built-in computer. An integrated camera simultaneously captures color image data that is automatically mapped to the 3D point cloud that is produced. This type of scanner is capable of scanning very large objects like buildings, landscape features or monuments, such as the Aviator statue outside Clemons Library.
To capture the Aviator statue, the Focus 3D scanner was set up in 3 different locations around the statue to scan different sides of it. Physical targets are placed in the scene to help register the different scans into one solid model during post-production scan data manipulation. Ultimately the results yield a detailed 3D model of the statue that can then be used in any 3D software for rendering or animation.