30 days of 3D Scan

Can I make profesional 3D models ONLY with my Iphone 12 Lidar scan capabilities?

What I learned about 3D Scanning

  • Size: It is not recommended to scan things that are smaller than a shoebox. Also, with really big things you won’t be able to cover all the angles.
  • Technique: go slow while you are scanning, go around the object (remember to cover the top too) and don’t go over again the same area.
  • Light: this will also affect the look of your 3D scan. If you are going to scan objects, try to do it with daylight and with homogeneus light (better if it is a cloudy day). But you can also play with shadows and lights for more artistic results.
  • Don’t try transparent or shiny things: This will make the scan imprecise at best or it will be filled with holes at worst. Also shiny surfaces from a car are tricky to scan.
  • Hard edges and dark surfaces are dificult too to scan. I spent a almost an hour trying to scan the ear of my Pichu (which are supposed to be pointy):
Captured with 3dScannerApp
Guitar wall captured with Scaniverse
  • Soft rounded things are easier. While I have had a lot of trouble with smaller objects and dark surfaces, this Armchair took me less than 10 seconds with 3dscannerapp. The texture is super smooth and the mesh almost has no holes.
  • Depth Range: The frame of the capture sequence. The max range of 5m is set by the range of the LiDAR sensor and in some apps you can also modify the depth range to limit your capture. But don’t try to scan something very far away.
  • Mesh: collection of vertices, edges and faces that defines the shape of an object. Some apps will apply simplication to the mesh, reducing the polygon count. This could make your 3d model vary between a lower-poly model and a highly-detailed one.
  • Point clouds: different apps base their scan either on point clouds or mesh and this will affect the final look of your scan. You can export the .ply file and edit/trim the cloud points on blender/meshlab.
  • Try to change the settings of the app you are using: For example, in 3dscannerapp you can change the High Res setttings like resolution, masking or range. You can set whether you are scanning an object or a person for better scan results.
  • Texturization: responsible for models being colorful and interesting instead of blank and boring. This will add the color to your 3d object and its quality can vary too.
  • Trimming: some of these apps allow free trimming of your scan and some don’t. To improve the quality of your scan and have a more clean 3D model, you can export your model to you computer, open it on Blender, Meshlab or Meshmixer and cropped the parts you don’t want. See the difference of my donut scan before and after trimming it:
Donut scan captured with Trnio
  • Take into account the size of your scan when you export it. My street art scan was 121,3 MB and I could not uploaded directly to Sketchfab. Luckly, Sitescape have a userguide on how to edit the scans later.
  • Export format: In some apps, the free functionalities would only allow me to share my scan in usdz format. So I had to export it to my Mac, open it on Xcode and then export it to a supported Sketchfab format (usually in .dae). So, try to use the embeded functionality and export directly to Sketchfab.
  • And lastly, iterate with the settings on @Sketchfab. The editor can turn a poor scan into an ok scan. Try changing your point size.

What app should I use?

  • Object Scanning: My prefered free apps are Scaniverse and 3DScannerApp. You can find other apps like Polycam or Qlone as well as point cloud based apps like EveryPoint or SiteScape for a different artistic result. But for more quality results, for a few euros/dollars you can make really detailed models with Trnio app.
  • Mural Scanning: Scaniverse and Polycam make great Mural Scans. And specially Polycam has invested a bit of work into enabling very large scans.
  • Spaces/Scenes Scanning: I love the results with point clouds apps like EveryPoint and SiteScape. Also great to play with the light. For example, this nighttime playground scan:
Captured with EveryPoint
  • Face Scanning: ScandyPro is the prefered app for the moment. Also tried Capture, but this last one did not allow to export the textures.
  • 3D Video: I tested the Record3D app and the results are super cool. With the premium version you also have RGBD Video Streaming which can be the future for holographic remote meetings. The downsize is that for most recordings, the size of the video was too big to upload to Sketchfab, specially if you are using the Lidar scanner at 60FPS. But you can make super cool hologram videos with the unity demo:
  • Room Scanning: you can find Canvas, Matterport and RoomScanLidar for this specific use, but other apps previously mentioned like Polycam, Scaniverse, SiteScape and EveryPoint make great results.

Be inspired by the community

My main conclusion is …

Hope that this post was helpful for you.

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