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2. Digital Bodies


Some inspiration and interesting history about Digital Bodies. Click Here :)

2. Digital bodies

This week we learnt how to create a digital body model using different techniques.

  1. Scan the body using a Kinect
  2. Scan a body using photogrammetry technic
  3. Model a body using MakeHuman program
  4. Edit the 3D human model using Rhinoceros program
  5. Create a 2D serial flat pieces of the 3D human model using Slicer 360 program
  6. Make the 3D human mannequin prototype using the Laser Cut machine
  7. Assemble the pieces

Create a 3D human model using a Kinect

What is a Kinect and why to use it for digital fabrication?.

This device was developed to play videogames through the interaction with the human body. Even do the different applications of this technology have been a lot further than just entertainment thanks to the ability to recognize voice and speech, track the body movement, and face gestures. Its been used for medical research, education, virtual shopping and now digital fabrication.

It works with an infrared sensor measuring the distance it takes to the light to travel between the lens and the object creating a virtual image based on what it reads. That´s why it works better in rooms with not much light and with good distances. Here you can find information about how it works

Picture\ Picture

So, talking about digital fabrication the Kinect is a very helpfull tool in terms of scanning different objects in order to design and create high personalization products or projects.

It works with a Software called Skanect where you can download it from here. Also I found this tutorial from instructables showing how to use it. And this very useful and easy video tutorial with detailed steps of how to use the kinect and start scanning.

In our case we did scan our own bodies. We found it takes general details such the wrinkle of the cloth, light shadow, color and even fabric patterns. There are two ways to use it. First, keep the kinect immovable and place the object turning it around in 360 degrees using the same central point (the most rounds the most details it gets). The second option is to move the kinect around and the object stays immovable which I prefer this option. To me it seems you have more control of the scanning. To keep in mind the places the scan can´t get the shape it lets a hole instead of a solid surface. So you will have to use the watertight option to repair and cover it.

This was the result!

Shape Texture

Create a 3D model using photogrammer technology

This technic works using photographs of every angle. The program Regard3D take the pictures to match the textures creating a 3D surface. It is needed to use 3 objects as referent point. The details are even better. We tried many times to do a body shape model but we think it works better using a white background. So we tried my shoe thinking it wasn´t going to work because it was too shine but here is the result. Sometimes with surfaces like glass or windows the program can´t understand the volume of it.


The result was fantastic. In meshlab Clara (our assistant) made a little play and you can see the very details it got. The texture and color are exactly the same as te real shoe.

So in between the both technologies I think you can use both depends of what you want to do. If you have a little object with high texture on it you can make it with photogrammetry option. If it is a big object with less texture you should do it with a Kinect. Remember the photogrammetry takes long time.

Make a 3D Human Model using MAKEHUMAN

It is easy to use. You will have to take measures of the body and the program tells you how to do it correctly. This time we did it ourselves to make a Mannekin. Also it has poses and face options. As I wanted it turned so I choosed this one.


After this we edited the 3D model in Rhinoceros to cut the parts we did´t going to use in the mannequin. In my case the head, arms and legs. To import the file made in Make Human you must save it in .stl format and then open it in Rhino. Check the size of the model and if is wrong you can scale it. It is better to convert the object into a mesh using the command MESHTONURB. Then create cutting objects and convert them into meshes as well. Now you can use the command TRIM to erase the parts you don´t want from the model.


This is the result.


Doing this we learnt to create meshes and MakeBooleanSplit to cut the pieces.

After this we used SLICER 360 to create the 2D flat pieces. It is a program not that easy for me. First you have to choose the material. In my case a 2mm carton board with size 1000mm X 600 mm. This you have to write in the programe settings it will fix the slices.


Here you can choose how many boards you want to use (keep in mind the waste of the material.. the less the better). Also the way you want the slices. In my case I wanted to look turned so I moved the directions a bit.


I had the idea to make a pattern and personalize the Mannequin making it pretty. So I drew it, make it on Illustrator and put it into the slices curves and lacer cut it.


We made the NESTING on RHINOCEROS and it took me 3 boards and 1/3 of another one. I cut it with the laser machine. As my pattern was full of lines it took about 1hour and 15 minutes aprox to cut every board.


Some pictures of the process

NOTE: The mannequin was kind of twisted. With the time the paperboard was falling because the structure looses the strenght. In this case is better to use another material such acrylic.