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These 3D models are made by taking 30 photos (in 30 seconds!) and processing them with Autodesk's "123D Catch" software (

This was a hands-on activity at the Animation13 Festival and Inspirational Computer Science Day, Friday 13 July 2013...

Our guests met our students Georgiana and Xin in Room G16 and were photographed and modelled, and then they appeared in Hamza and Anna's Augmented Reality demo in the John Thaw Theatre next door!

So how does it work? The software scans each of the 30 photos looking for matches for common features found in multiple photos. Using mathematics, geometry and statistics, it's possible to estimate 3D shapes from the 2D photos. These shapes are then converted to a mesh of triangles, and the colours from the pixels mapped onto the triangles, using OpenGL. Why do the models usually have no backs to their heads? Because it's really hard to find matching points in hair.