Trace Modeler is an application that uses real-time video to create three-dimensional geometry. The silhouette of a foreground object in a video frame is subtracted from the background and used as a two-dimensional slice. At user-defined intervals new slices are captured and displaced along the depth axis. The result is a three-dimensional model defined by silhouette slices over time.
Geometry can be created using anything from shapes drawn on paper, to physical objects, to parts of the body.
Geometry can be exported as a generic STL mesh file, opening up a number of possibilities for working with the mesh in more conventional modeling software. Alternatively the mesh can be used as-is for immediate fabrication using a 3D printer.
Trace Modeler is built using the openFrameworks toolkit and the OpenCV library to recognize contours from the video image. We envision Trace Modeler as a general-purpose tool that can be used to create 3D forms in an unconventional way. With careful consideration of camera placement, lighting, and objects there are a range of forms that can be represented using the tool.
We have experimented with different fabrication techniques to demonstrate how the model geometry can be realized in physical form. The images below show the ABS model created using a 3D printer, and several vacuum formed shapes created using the ABS model as a mold.
Created by: Karl D.D. Willis
Download: Trace Modeler Source Code