There are times when a project comes along that is too good to miss, and when I was asked to scan the original concept sculptures of the Batman cowl from Tim Burton's original 1989 film I was more than happy to get involved.
Vin Burnham (in association with Alli Eynon) forged a new path for super-hero costume with the sculpting of the original 1989 Batman costume (under supervision of Costume Designer Bob Ringwood). At the time I was eighteen and knew the significance of the suit even then. I knew history was being made, and it is testimony to Tim Burton's desire to create such a visual spectacle, and Vin's ability to bring something so special into being that changed the movie world forever. Not just the technical aspects of the suit's creation but from a wider perspective it became uber-cool for actors to take on super hero roles.
Both busts ready for 3D scanning
The amazing Jose Fernadez of Ironead Studios is using the 3D scans to create replica suits, and 3D scanning is the perfect way to accurately bring all the detail and idiosyncracies of the original sculptures into the digital realm to subsequently work from.
The two sculptures were originally created as 'concept' and 'final' busts, to give Tim Burton something tangible to sign off, so the costume could go into full production.
Both busts are cast plaster from a waste-mould, made in production 30 years back. A waste-mould is a mould used for one cast only, so these casts are one-offs, made from Vin's clay sculptures (the clay versions destroyed as part of the moulding process). The bottom line is, if something happens to these sculptures, without 3D scans there is no accurate 3 dimensional archive by which to refer or even 3D print copies.
From a practical standpoint, plaster is a great material for 3D scanning as there is no reflection or light bouncing off the surface which can affect the 3D scanning process.
3D scanning the sculptures
The Creaform Go!Scan 20 I used is a portable white light scanner, capturing highly detailed scans with high point accuracy. I needed to put some targets (little dots) on for the scanner to lock onto the surface and ease the scanning. It scanned really well, capturing even the little imperfections such as the broken tips of the ears.
Post-processing the scan was relatively simple, filling some holes, repairing the ear tips and any little dinks and dents from 30 years of life (we all have a few of them!). The final files looked great - watertight mesh ready for further digital transformations...
Now the sculptures are immortalised digitally ready for another 30 years of storage! The sculptor in me wants to take inspiration from the files and create a retro, concept cowl for fun, as a homage to what was a fantastic turning point in movie history.
• 1989 Batman movie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_(1989_film)
• Vin Burnham: http://vinburnham.com/
• Alli Eynon: http://allieynon.com/
• Jose Fenandez: https://ironheadstudio.com
• Bob Ringwood: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0727674/
#sculpture #3dscanning #3dmodeling #batman #creaform #batmanmovie