I finally fulfilled my childhood dream and it made me feel like a kid again: I played a video game as myself in the freaking game. It was beyond incredible and so weird, but oodles of fun. This is the best thing.
Alexx Henry teamed up with Nikon to create this xxArray camera system that uses over 64 cameras to create a perfectly detailed 3D model of a person. Naturally, Nikon inserted that 3D model (that would be me) into a video game.
The 64+ cameras were set up in an intimidating structure that looked like a skeletal space pod (if you’re into sci-fi) or a more ridiculous version of a TSA body scanner (if you hate the TSA). After the curtains roll down in the room, you feel like you’re about to vanish in some sort of magic trick but the cameras — Nikon D5200s and 5300s — all fire at the same time to create a 15.4 gigapixel image. There’s absolutely no fussiness to it.
All those pictures from all those cameras are sent to three computers to create and polish off the 3D model then sent to a 12 core PC for processing. What’s perhaps most impressive is that the process doesn’t take much time; from photoshoot to being inside the video game took less than two hours.
There are a lot of things you could do with a photorealistic 3D model of yourself; you could virtually try on clothes when you shop online, make an action figure of yourself, etc. But let’s be honest, the best possible use is putting yourself in a video game. It’s every kid’s dream realised. And even though the game was nothing more than running around and trying to collect cameras, the out of body experience of seeing that it was your ugly mug doing the running and collecting of cameras made it so wonderful.
It’s an incredibly simple proof of concept; real-life-you moves the left analogue stick on the Xbox controller (the game was running off a Mac it seems) and video-game — you moves left too. Real-life-you presses the B button and video-game-you starts dancing. Real-life-you can make video-game-you fly. You control you through a controller. It’s ridiculous.
And a little bit insane when you see strangers use your video game character. A stranger was playing as our Senior Video/Photo Editor Michael Hession and he kept looking over at Michael and then looking back at the video game. And Michael was pretty freaked out.
It wasn’t all perfect though; the video game face couldn’t animate (Henry said that’s the next step) but with a little more time, I’m sure you could make your 3D model do practically anything.
Aside from the video game, Henry used the xxArray system to create a 3D digital tattoo magazine Art and Skin that showed the power of the camera system. Those 3D renders are more detailed than the video game character and look unreal, like the person is actually inside the screen. You can pretty much count pores inside the app.
It’s advancements like this that makes technology wonderful. Turning the ridiculous dreams you had as a kid into real life. The electricity-powered embodiment of why the hell not.
And it’s also just really, ridiculously fun.