I run a website called Surface Mimic (http://www.surfacemimic.com) , that offers high res 3D surface scan textures for games and VFX artists.
I’m using a photographic scanning technique that produces high res diffuse flat lit color and displacement maps of various surfaces. I run around with a portable rig scanning surfaces like human skin, clothing, animal skins, tree bark, asphalt, brick walls, etc. Then make those available on the Surface Mimic site.
Recently we’ve also pioneered a method to capture near microscopic resolution pore and wrinkle level displacement maps (http://blog.surfacemimic.com/information/3d-face-scans-pore-and-wrinkle-level-displacement-maps/) of human faces and body parts.
These surface scans are perfect for quickly getting realistic details into your models, avoiding the need to hand paint every detail. So far, ZBrush, Mudbox and Mari artists have been the biggest users, but increasingly texture artists have been integrating the matched displacement and color scans in their work, even for film.
I hope everyone finds this interesting and useful. Let me know what you think!
PS - There’s watermarked full res samples of every scan on the site available if you make an account (http://www.surfacemimic.com/gallery/register.php) . You’ll also get a free $10 discount code when you register so you can try some out that way too. Subscriptions are 20% off for the holidays also. Sale ends 01/01/13.