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Software used to create digital models of Euro 2008 stars

18 June 2008

Football fans, commuters and visitors using Zurich’s central rail station during this month’s final stages of the four-yearly European Football Championship - Euro 2008 - will find they are confronted by giant, 17 metre high life-like models of 11 players from the nine national teams that carry the Adidas logo on their playing kit.

The models were machined from hard foam using 3D surface model data generated by Geomagic business partner 3D Culture of Oestrich-Winkel, Germany, using Geomagic Studio digital reconstruction and surface modelling software.

To create the digital model data used in the machining of the physical models, the head and face of each of the players was scanned by 3D Culture using a KonicaMinolta 3D scanner. The resulting ‘point cloud’ data, comprising millions of discrete points representing the 3D coordinates of each of the players’ heads to an accuracy of 30 microns, was imported into Geomagic Studio. Here, the point cloud was processed to remove any ‘noise’ generated during the scanning process and then automatically converted to a polygon model using the software’s standard facilities.

After fine-tuning the polygon model by removing any anomalies and by extending, trimming and cleaning-up areas as necessary, the polygon model was converted by Geomagic Studio into a high quality, water-tight NURBS (non-uniform rational b-spline) digital surface model for use in the machining process on a numerical control (NC) milling machine. After machining, the physical models were painted in the appropriate team colours and transported to Zurich station for erection.

Peter Brunsbach, managing director, 3D Culture, explained: “Although the bodies of the 11 final models are all the same, it was important that the individual players represented by those models could be recognised by the public. We therefore had to scan each player’s head, including his face, in order to gather enough 3D coordinate data from which to generate the accurate digital surface models used for the machining process. Geomagic Studio was the obvious software tool for this task.”

The players represented by the models are: Michael Ballack and Phillip Lahm of Germany, Karim Benzema and Patrick Vieira of France, Angelos Charisteas of Greece, Andreas Ivanschitz of Austria, Robin van Persie of The Netherlands, David Villa of Spain, Tranquillo Barnetta of Switzerland, Petr Cech of the Czech Republic and Christian Chivu of Romania.

The final of Euro 2008, which will determine which country holds the coveted European Football Champions title for the next four years, takes place at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna on 29 June.

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