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Eyetronics Reconstructs Irish Countryside for King Arthur

Film's stars also scanned for 3D game, background scenes (August 19, 2004)

King Arthur, his knights and Saxon enemies couldn't come to the mountain, so Eyetronics and Cinesite brought it to them.

Eyetronics provided Cinesite with detailed 3D models of the Irish countryside for a battle scene in Buena Vista Pictures' feature film King Arthur. The company also used its portable scanning system to create 3D face models of the film's stars.

"King Arthur is an epic story in a realistic and historical tradition," says Cinesite CEO Colin Brown. "We created several massive illusions that are seamlessly interwoven into the visual fabric of the story. They look and feel realistic without appearing inconsistent with the action of the film."

Creating the battle scene
Cinesite and Eyetronics teamed to create a key battle sequence early in the story. In the scene, King Arthur's outnumbered knights confront the Saxons on a frozen lake surrounded by a steep mountainous gorge. As the Saxons cluster together, their weight causes the ice to buckle and the troops sink into the depths of the lake.

Cinesite's digital artists created the entire environment for the sequence using a combination of 2D and 3D digital renderings.

The first step was to create digital matte paintings using reference photographs shot both in the Scottish Highlands and the French Alps. The paintings were split into separate planes and a 3D camera track was applied to give the appropriate parallax. Using Cinesite's proprietary software, a shake macro was created for the breaking ice. The computer-generated environment for the lake and valley were created with reference to vital 3D measurements provided by Eyetronics.

"Eyetronics came to Ireland to digitally reconstruct a small, hilly green gulch near the town of Hollywood what we called the Hollywood Bowl," says Cinesite VFX Supervisor Matt Johnson. "The Eyetronics method does not require any specialized equipment. They just take pictures with a digital still camera from different viewpoints to reconstruct the setting in 3D."

The key to the data capture methodology is shooting the scenery in a way that it can be processed by special Eyetronics software.

"It is important to keep the scene in frame while you are moving the camera and taking individual pictures," says Dirk Callaerts, Eyetronics' CEO. "This creates a parallax from which the Eyetronics software can derive both camera positions and parameters to reconstruct a full 3D model."

Once the pictures are processed, the 3D model can be exported from Eyetronics software as point clouds or as a 3D mesh, and depth maps for each of the individual camera views can be derived.

The 3D models that are generated with this technique are ideal for pre-visualizing scenes, planning camera motion, and building virtual environments for movies, TV and games. The technique can also be used for match-moving and camera-tracking.

Eyetronics also travelled to the King Arthur set in Dublin to scan the main cast members, including Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffud, Keira Knightley and Stellan Skarsgard. The 3D face scans were used by Krome Studios for the King Arthur game based on the feature film.

The game features photorealistic scenery and seamless transition from in-game play to cut-scene sequences that capture the feel of the movie. Players can select characters to play Arthur, Lancelot, Tristan, Bors and Guinevere all modeled from Eyetronics' 3D head scans of the actors.

Cinesite later requested the same 3D face scans for distant shots within the feature film.

About Cinesite
Cinesite Hollywood provides a wide range of digital imaging services, including digital intermediate/digital film mastering, digital film restoration, and scanning and recording. Cinesite London provides visual effects services that include both digital and physical effects, model construction and photography, and scanning and recording. Cinesite is a Kodak subsidiary and part of the company's Entertainment Imaging division. For more information, visit the Cinesite website at

Cinesite's current slate of films includes Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Sahara, Phantom of The Opera, Alien vs. Predator, and Alfie.

About Eyetronics
Eyetronics ( has corporate offices in Leuven, Belgium, and Los Angeles. The company specializes in high-quality 3D acquisition systems and services that enable faster production of 3D models, animation and special effects. Its products and services can be used for a wide range of applications, including high-end special effects for movies and TV, realistic character generation for games, and creating consumer-oriented products such as low-cost sculptures of scanned people or objects.

Eyetronics' current slate of films includes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alexander, Brothers Grimm, and Racing Stripes.

For more information on Eyetronics 3D scanning services, in North or South America call 1-800-205-9808 or e-mail; in Europe and Asia, call +32-16-298-343 or e-mail


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Related Keywords:Eyetronics, King Arthur, 3D game, Cinesite, 3D models, Buena Vista Pictures, scanning, Colin Brown, Matt Johnson, Dirk Callaerts, Krome Studios,


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