Looxis Faceworx is a free 3D modeling program that can construct a textured 3D model of a person’s head out of two 2D photos (one from the front, “mugshot” style, and the other profile style from the side).
With this program you can create a modeled 3D head and then export it as an .OBJ file for use in other 3D modeling software such as Sketchup or Blender.
As a starting point you will need two well light photographs of the subject whose head you want to model, and, once imported into Looxis Faceworx, the process will require a degree of manual intervention on your part to best map your subject’s phase/features onto the 3D model. Here are more notes on this program:
The learning curve: is very shallow. Just go to help then video tutorial and you will know everything that you need to know within 5 minutes. The program is very easy to use and come to grips with.
How it works: once you have the images, you will have to manipulate a line/point structure manually in order to best fit it around the face in the photographs.What you need to know here is that there are different levels of detail that you can work with: you can tell the program to give you more points or less points to manipulate.
More tips: make it simple by deactivating the line/points structures that you are not working with instead of having them be displayed on screens. Zoom into the images when working with them for best accuracy (with the mouse wheel). Start with as little points as possible then make it more detailed afterwards; the better you “fit” these points around the head, the better the result will be. Deactivate the “blend zone” to begin with and deal with it at the very end.
The user interface: is very straightforward. Three different windows display your subject’s frontal image, profile image, and 3D model of the head. What is nice about this program is that since it only does one thing – maps images to a 3D head – there is a limited set of tools that you need to use and come to grips with.
More options: you can view your model in “Orthogonal”, “Perspective”, or Wireframe modes. There’s a “lightning” function which seems to add some shadows to your model, and a magnifier tool which I found extremely useful.
Exporting: you can save your model in .OBJ format and import it into other 3D modeling software.
Related tools: the creator of this software offers a number of free tools that can be used in conjunction with Faceworx: a browser plugin that enables viewing the 3D model in a browser, a screensaver creator that generates a screensaver that uses your 3D head, and an HTML generator that can embed your model in HTML for publishing on a site. These seem to be only in German, unfortunately, so I was not able to use them, and there seems to be very sparse info on them on the site itself.
The verdict: a very nice free tool that you can get into and produce great results in a manner of minutes. Even if you use other modeling software such as Sketchup or Blender this can be invaluable in terms of getting your 3D head created which you can then add to any project that you might be working on in those other programs (e.g the rest of the body). For all you people who will get excited about the thought of a 3D avatar, this program is for you.