Grads Produce 3D Head Scan of Shaquille O’Neal for Soda Shaq App [Video]

Two Full Sail grads contributed to a game app for Arizona Iced Tea’s Soda Shaq by producing a 3D head scan of Shaquille O’Neal’s face. The app, called Soda Shaq Hoops, is an augmented reality game that superimposes a chatty, interactive Shaq and a basketball court onto the user’s can of Soda Shaq. Players can then attempt to “flick” a virtual basketball into the net, to the cheers or taunts of virtual Shaq.

The grads responsible for the 3D Shaq scan are David Theisen and Corey Kinard, both of whom graduated from the Computer Animation degree program in 2000. David now teaches Advanced Game Characters for Computer Animation and Game Art, and Corey is lead artist at Cole Engineering in Orlando’s Research Park.

David and Corey, two self-described perpetual tinkerers, stumbled onto the job when a former employer contacted David asking if he knew any local companies that did 3D head scanning, also known as “photogrammetry.”

“I knew this was something we could tackle, and offered to do the job,” says David.

David and Corey built their own photogrammetry rig, an array of cameras in a 360-degree configuration, each with custom firmware that allows for remote operation via a triggering device.

“We had about six weeks to build and test our system,” says David. “On August 22, we hauled our equipment to Skystorm Productions in Lake Mary and sat Shaq down at the center of our camera rig. This was the first time we had used our system outside of a controlled environment, and we only had him for about an hour.”

David and Corey ended up with about 900 pictures, taking 30 pictures at a time, capturing Shaq’s various facial expressions to be used in the game. The two delivered the 3D model on Sept. 3, and the game went into beta mode in mid-September. It was unveiled on Oct. 10, 2013 at the New York Comic Con.