Friday, December 18, 2015

First Sense for Intel Real Sense Scans

Update:  When I notified 3D Systems about the issues I point out in this article, they indicated that they are being addressed.  As far as I know, only 1 Real Sense Win10 tablet has been released at this point.(The HP Spcete X2 that I am using) and one is to be released in January (The Lenovo MIIX 700).    The scan, therefore, mentioned in this article used a VERY early version of Sense for Intel's RealSense.  I will let you know when I get the updated version.  Even so, I am VERY impressed and happy to be using it.
 In my previous post, I talked about the new tablets being released with the Intel Real Sense R200 3D scanners.

I have made my first scans and I have to say they are impressive.  Just as before, with the Sense scanner, we have to be reminded that these are not $30,000 scanners.  So, anyone having notions that they can buy a tablet with a 3D scanner that will perform like a $30,000 is going to be sadly mistaken.

But, for those of us that look at price/performance ratios realistically, the scans from the R200 are impressive.

Currently, I know of two Win8/10 apps for 3D scanning with the Intel Real Sense cameras.  They are the ItSeez3D app and 3D System's Sense for Intel's RealSense app.


The ItSeez3D app is strictly for scanning people and it's tied to their cloud service.  While the test scan was quite impressive, I didn't have an account with ItSeez3D so I have nothing to show right now.  It is a bit slower than the Sense app; but, not so much that it was a show stopper.  More on ItSeez3D will have to come later.

Sense for Intel's RealSense

Having had some experience using the Sense scanner from 3D Systems, I had some definite things in mind to check with the new Real Sense technology... notably ears and hair.

First Scan from Intel's Real Sense 3D Scanner - Right Ear

I was VERY pleased with the outcome.  Ears and hair are a especially difficult to scan and, as you can see from the above image, the right ear came out perfectly!  But, most of us have TWO ears, so it's only rational that we should check out how well the left ear came out before crowing too loudly.

First Scan from Intel's Real Sense 3D Scanner -  Left Ear

Lo and behold!  Te left ear is perfect, too!

Now, for the hair test....

First Scan from Intel's Real Sense 3D Scanner -  Hair

While not absolutely perfect, the hair scan is still pretty amazing.  It's certainly better than my first Sense scans of a few tears ago.  So, I'm very pleased.  The shape is right and the color can be easily corrected.

Sense for the Intel RealSense - Export File Types

To be useful, the scans have to be able to be read or printed by other applications.  My focus here is on local editing and printing.  I'm interested in post-processing in Sculpt and printing with the Z-450 full color printer.  So, I exported as .OBJ, .PLY and .WRL.

Exported Files with Sculpt 

Sculpt can only import the .OBJ and .PLY files.  It crashed while trying to load the .OBJ and the .PLY came in without color.  This was surprising to me since I had worked with the original Sense scanner and Sculpt, in color, for some time.  So, I had to add MeshLab to the workflow as an intermediary to Sculpt.

MeshLab to Sculpt

Meshlab is a wonderful open-source program for dealing with 3D meshes.  I have long used it and, most recently, to allow me to prepared full color .PLY and .WRL files from .STL files for printing on the Z-450.

MeshLab was unable to open the exported  .WRL file. and, like Sculpt, it brought in the .PLY file without color.  It was, however successful at bringing in the exported .OBJ file in full color.  Unfortunately, the Z-450 is expecting to see either a .full color PLY or .WRL file.  MeshLab can perform the conversion provided the color system is correct.

After some experimentation, I realized that I needed to convert the 'Material' or "Texture" color, that is exported by the Sense app, to 'Vert' color.  I also had to resize the scanned image because it is, as one should expect, life sized.  While the printer's software can scale it, it is just easier to get the exact size we want right in the MeshLab package.  It's a two step process.  We first measure the original...

Measuring with MeshLab

And, then we scale to an optimal size using Filters > Normals, Curvatures and Orientation > Transform Scale.  

Scaling in MeshLab

The final step was converting the "Texture" color system of the .OBJ file to a "Vert" color system appropriate for the Z-450 and Sculpt .PLY file.  For this we use Filters > Color Creation and Processing > Transfer Color - Texture to Vertex.  

Texture to Vertex.

The transfer process does affect the character of the color.  And, there are tools available in both Meshlab and Sculpt to post-process the colors before printing.  We simply exported the filtered image as a PLY and brought it into Sculpt.

It worked!

RealSense/MeshLab 3D PLY (Vert Color) in Sculpt
Wishlist of Improvements in the Workflow

When Sculpt was introduced it was meant to mate, locally, with an FDM printer having limited color.  So, a SOLID model was perfectly OK.  But, at some point, hopefully, full-color powder printers like the previously announced CubeJet should become available.  So, being able to hollow out or "Shell" a model would be a very nice addition to the tool box.  I hear that it can be done in MeshLabs and I'll be looking into that to save material costs for Z-450 printing with our cadets.

First Scan Conclusions

While it would be nice if the Sense for Intel's Real Sense would port directly into Sculpt or a Vert Color .PLY or .WRL for full color printing.  However, the new level of accuracy and the benefits of being able to scan without dragging an attachment cord are such vast improvements over our previous scanning experience that we're not about to gripe about the few extra steps it takes to go from scan to print.

It turns out the that the M3 processor can handle the scanning and that is good news.  But, I would also like to test Real Sense on a smaller tablet.  The HP Spectra X2 is a 12" tablet and, while light, lighter would be even better for 3D scanning.  An 8" Win10 Real Sense tablet should be ideal.

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