RTT Starts Marketing Linear Light Scanner for Virtual Material Conception

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First pilot projects underway at automakers worldwide.

RTT Linear Light Scanner

"RTT's Linear Light Scanner technology creates virtual 3D materials which reflect light the same way as their real counterparts: from any angle, and in any lighting..." explains Prof. Paul Debevec.

The world’s leading provider of high-end 3D visualization, has begun marketing the RTT Linear Light Scanner, its material scanning solution, as a scan-as-a-service offering. The product, which was first presented at SIGGRAPH 2012, enables enterprises to quickly set up reliable material databases of highly realistic digitized surfaces at a minimum cost. The new scanning process generates physically authentic and lifelike visualizations, a novelty that was hitherto only possible with considerable manual effort. The depicted materials can be efficiently integrated into the virtual product development processes, positioning every business unit in an organization to benefit from uniform, consistently stored material visualizations. The new technology offers a convincing alternative, especially in deployment areas where less-precise flatbed scanners would be insufficient or necessitate an impracticable amount of post-processing.

A steadily increasing range of specifications within product portfolios compounds new products while innovation cycles shorten. The new scanning process gives virtual product development departments the ability to counter this trend by giving them efficient access to materials like metal, wood, leather, plastics, textiles and stone; whose digitization used to be extremely complex. The upshot is that concepts and materials (e.g. for use in a special series) can be tested more easily in photo-realistic quality. The process facilitates quicker, company-wide access to uniformly stored product visualizations. This especially benefits the automotive industry, where product marketing starts long before the product launch. Carmakers around the world have already started using the Linear Light Scanner in pilot projects, while further applications in other industries, such as fashion, sports and luxury goods, are currently undergoing testing.

Linear light source
The technology, developed by RTT in cooperation with Prof. Paul Debevec of the University of Southern California (USC), sets new quality standards for scanning textured surfaces. The Linear Light Scanner is based on the principle of a linear light source and is only moved over the sample at a few selected points. The resulting reflections are then calculated from the reflections of individual pixels using a digital model, thus making it possible to achieve much quicker results. Until now, flatbed scanners have generally been used for such applications, even though they do not capture the light effects with sufficient accuracy. Considerable manual post-processing of several hours per sample is then needed to realistically correct the measured material surfaces and their reflective qualities. Alternative, industrially available solutions for determining reflective properties, which measure the bi-directional texture functions (BTFs) based on point light sources, produce a similar quality to that of the Linear Light Scanner for low-gloss materials. This approach nevertheless has considerable limitations including much longer scan times and the inability to adequately reproduce the features of textured, high-gloss materials.

“RTT's Linear Light Scanner technology creates virtual 3D materials which reflect light the same way as their real counterparts: from any angle, and in any lighting. Materials such as brushed metal, varnished wood, and textured leather can now be presented to the consumer in a highly realistic way, which would not be possible with a single photographic image. Customized algorithms analyze the effects of different lighting conditions in order to achieve lifelike 3D models. It can be applied to the surface of a shoe or to the interior or exterior of a moving car, and visualized interactively using a realtime rendering package such as RTT DeltaGen. For the first time, virtual models can be truly predictive of how a real product will appear," explains Prof. Paul Debevec.

“With the Linear Light Scanner, we’re offering the industry a new high-end technology with hitherto unprecedented possibilities for industrial visualizations. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the high level of customer demand. For companies wishing to set up a reliable material database, we’re offering the new scanning process as a service in the framework of our virtual material development services,” says RTT Manager Line of Business Design & Engineering, Stephan Ritz.

About RTT
RTT is the leading, one-stop-provider of high-end software, consulting and creative services in professional, 3D visualization. As a strategic partner, RTT offers sustainable, effective and seamless process support across the entire product life-cycle with its holistic approach. As a result, products are developed faster and mo-re cost-effectively while time-to-market is significantly reduced. Through creative, photorealistic CGI implementations RTT enables innovative sales and marketing advantages and new dimensions of emotional brand staging. The Group's customer-base includes companies like Adidas, Audi, BMW, EADS, Electrolux, Ferrari, General Motors, Harley-Davidson, Porsche, The North Face and Volkswagen. RTT AG was founded 1999 in Munich.

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