Scan Anything in 3D with Your Phone: A Beginner’s Guide

Posted by

3D scanning technology has come a long way in recent years, making it more accessible and affordable for the average person. In fact, you can even use your smartphone to 3D scan objects and create digital models for 3D printing, video game development, and more. With the right app and a few tips and tricks, you can turn your phone into a powerful 3D scanning tool.

One of the most popular 3D scanning apps for smartphones is called Qlone. It uses your phone’s camera to capture images of an object from different angles and then stitches them together to create a 3D model. Qlone also includes a built-in editor that allows you to refine the model and export it in various file formats. Another popular app is Trnio, which uses photogrammetry to create 3D models by analyzing the patterns and textures on an object’s surface. Both apps are available for iOS and Android devices.

While using your phone to 3D scan objects may seem daunting at first, it’s actually a relatively straightforward process. With a few simple techniques and a bit of practice, you can create high-quality 3D models that rival those created with more expensive equipment. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, 3D scanning with your phone is a valuable skill to have in your arsenal.

What is 3D Scanning?

3D scanning is the process of creating a digital representation of a physical object. This technology has been around for decades and has been used in various industries like engineering, architecture, and healthcare. However, with the advent of smartphones, 3D scanning has become more accessible to the general public.

How Does 3D Scanning Work?

The process of 3D scanning involves capturing the shape and size of an object using a variety of techniques. One of the most common methods is using a 3D scanner that projects light onto an object and measures the reflection to create a 3D model. Another method is using photogrammetry, which involves taking multiple photos of an object from different angles and then stitching them together to create a 3D model.

Why Use Your Phone for 3D Scanning?

Using your phone for 3D scanning has several advantages. First, it is more affordable than buying a dedicated 3D scanner. Second, it is more convenient since you can carry your phone with you anywhere you go. Third, it is easy to use since there are many 3D scanning apps available for both Android and iOS devices.

However, there are also some limitations to using your phone for 3D scanning. The quality of the 3D model may not be as high as that of a dedicated 3D scanner, and the process may take longer since you need to take multiple photos of the object from different angles.

Overall, 3D scanning with your phone is a fun and accessible way to create 3D models of objects. With the right app and some practice, you can create detailed and accurate 3D models that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Preparing Your Phone for 3D Scanning

Before you start 3D scanning with your phone, you need to prepare it properly. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Choosing the Right App

First, you need to choose the right app to use for 3D scanning. There are many apps available on both iOS and Android platforms that can help you with 3D scanning. Some of the popular apps are:

  • Scann3D
  • Qlone
  • Trnio
  • 3D Scanner App
  • 3D Creator

Choose an app that suits your needs and is compatible with your phone.

Calibrating Your Phone’s Camera

Calibrating your phone’s camera is an important step in 3D scanning. It helps to ensure that the images captured by your phone’s camera are accurate and aligned properly. Here’s how you can calibrate your phone’s camera:

  1. Find a flat surface and place your phone on it.
  2. Open the app you have chosen for 3D scanning and follow the instructions to calibrate the camera.
  3. Move your phone around the object you want to scan and take multiple photos from different angles.

Choosing the Right Object to Scan

Not all objects are suitable for 3D scanning. To get the best results, choose an object that has the following characteristics:

  • A simple shape
  • High contrast
  • No reflective surfaces
  • No transparent surfaces

Choose an object that is easy to scan and has enough detail to create a 3D model.

In conclusion, preparing your phone for 3D scanning is an essential step to get accurate and high-quality results. Choose the right app, calibrate your phone’s camera, and choose the right object to scan. With these steps, you can start 3D scanning with your phone and create amazing 3D models.

Capturing the Object

When it comes to 3D scanning with your phone, capturing the object is the most crucial step. Here are some sub-sections to help you get the best results:

Positioning Your Phone and Object

Before you start scanning, make sure your phone and object are in the right position. The phone should be parallel to the object, and the object should be well-lit. If possible, use a tripod or a stable surface to keep your phone steady. You can also use a turntable to rotate the object while scanning.

Taking Multiple Shots

To ensure you capture all angles of the object, take multiple shots from different angles. Move around the object and take shots from above, below, and around it. You can also take shots from different distances to capture details.

Checking for Errors

After you’ve taken your shots, check for errors. Look for missing parts, distorted shapes, or blurry images. If you notice any errors, retake the shots until you get the desired results.

To make the scanning process easier, you can use 3D scanning apps that guide you through the process. Some apps also have built-in error-checking features that help you identify and fix any issues.

In conclusion, capturing the object is the most crucial step in 3D scanning with your phone. Make sure your phone and object are positioned correctly, take multiple shots, and check for errors to get the best results.

Processing the Scan

Uploading the Images

Once you have captured all the images of your object, you need to upload them to a processing software. There are many free and paid software options available for this purpose. Some popular ones are Autodesk ReCap, Agisoft Metashape, and Meshroom.

Before uploading, make sure that the images are of good quality and are in the correct order. Most software will automatically detect the order, but it’s always better to double-check.

Creating the 3D Model

After uploading the images, the software will start processing them to create a 3D model. This process can take some time, depending on the size and complexity of the object. While the software is processing, you can adjust the settings to optimize the quality of the model.

Once the processing is complete, you will have a 3D model of your object. The model may not be perfect, and you may need to do some cleanup.

Cleaning Up the Model

Cleaning up the model involves removing any unwanted parts, filling in gaps, and smoothing out rough areas. This can be done using the same software you used for processing or using a different software specifically designed for editing 3D models.

If you are new to 3D modeling, it may take some time to get the hang of it. However, with practice, you will be able to create high-quality models.

In conclusion, processing a 3D scan involves uploading the images, creating the 3D model, and cleaning up the model. With the right software and some patience, anyone can create a 3D model using their phone.

Exporting and Using Your Scan

Exporting the Model

Once you have completed your 3D scan, you can export the model to use in various applications. There are several ways to export your model, depending on the app you used to scan it.

If you used the 3D Scanner App, you can export the model as an OBJ file, which is a widely used 3D file format. To do this, simply tap the “Export” button in the app and select “OBJ” as the file format. You can then save the file to your phone’s storage or share it via email or cloud storage services.

If you used a different app, such as Qlone or Scandy Pro, the export options may vary. Some apps may allow you to export the model as an STL file, which is commonly used in 3D printing. Others may offer additional file formats, such as PLY or FBX.

Using the Model

Once you have exported your 3D model, you can use it in various applications. Here are some ideas:

  • 3D Printing: You can use your 3D model to create a physical object using a 3D printer. Simply import the model into a 3D printing software, such as Cura or Simplify3D, and adjust the settings as necessary before printing.

  • Augmented Reality: You can use your 3D model in augmented reality apps, such as ARKit or ARCore. This allows you to place the model in the real world and interact with it in real-time.

  • Virtual Reality: You can use your 3D model in virtual reality apps, such as Unity or Unreal Engine. This allows you to create immersive experiences and environments using your 3D model.

  • 3D Modeling: You can use your 3D model as a base for further 3D modeling. This allows you to refine and improve the model, add textures and colors, and create variations or new designs.

Overall, exporting and using your 3D scan opens up a world of possibilities for creativity and innovation. With the right tools and techniques, you can turn your scans into tangible objects, immersive experiences, and stunning visualizations.