High-precision Color 3D Modeling Solutions, Which is the Most Suitable One for You?

Dec 26, 2022

With the rapid development of 5G, metaverse, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3D display and other technologies, the demand for high-definition color 3D modeling is rising gradually.

Among various color 3D scanning and modeling solutions, people often wonder which solution is more effective and economic for them. After reading this article, you will have a thorough understanding of which solution is more suitable for you.

One key factor is that we need to learn the different types of demands for high-definition 3D color models. In different scenarios, users need to choose the most appropriate solution according to their own needs.

High-precision, true color 3D modeling

First of all, what kind of model is defined as a high-precision and true-color 3D model?

1. High precision: The size and texture details of the item can be accurately restored. High-precision 3D models can be used for data archiving, data measurement and analysis, item restoration, and other applications.

texture mapped bronze workpiece scaled
3d scanned data of bronze workpiece

2. True color: Every texture and pattern detail on the item needs to be restored as true as possible (and willing to spend more time and cost for texture restoration).

What meets the requirements of this application scenario are generally the orphaned collections, 3D digitization of collections (such as cultural relics), or on-site analysis and testing of important samples (such as workpiece damage records, digital forensic analysis, crime scene investigations, etc.), or important specimens for scientific research and education (such as 3D database of Chinese herbal medicine or animal specimens, etc.).

3d color solution for chinese herbal medicine

3d data of chinese herbal medicine

If the customer has high requirements for clarity and color reproduction of the 3D model texture pattern, the most versatile and mature solution is composed of a 3D scanner + SLR camera + 3D texture mapping software (recommended software: iReal 3D Mapping Software, Substance Painter, Mari, etc.). And why is that?

1. Accuracy, fineness: compared with photo modeling and forward modeling methods, a high-precision 3D scanner can ensure that the size and the details of the item are accurately restored in 1:1.

For example, the highest accuracy of the KSCANMagic laser 3D scanner can reach 0.02 mm – 0.15 mm/m, and the resolution can reach 0.01 mm.

The high-precision 3D model can be widely used in 3D data archiving, 3D measurement and analysis, 3D printing replicas, 3D cultural relic monitoring, protection, etc.

3d scan ancient pottery3d scanned data of ancient pottery

2. Adaptability to different scenes: In real-life practices, customers will scan items of various sizes (large or small, coarse or fine), various materials (such as dark, black, reflective, etc.), and various textures (such as solid colors, repeated textures, etc.).

When it comes to acquiring 3D white models, if the customer wants to choose a solution with better versatility, a handheld 3D laser scanner is undoubtedly the better choice at present.

Take the KSCAN-Magic laser 3D scanner as an example, it has four scanning modes: large-area scanning (globally initiative infrared laser), fast scanning (blue laser crosses), fine scanning (blue parallel laser), deep-hole scanning (single blue laser), and built-in photogrammetry system.

The size adaptability can fully meet the demand of 3D scanning from coin size to more than ten meters items. Speaking of the material, KSCAN-Magic has better material adaptability among the category of non-contact 3D scanners in the market.

Whether the scanned object has black surfaces or highly reflective metal surfaces, it can directly scan without spraying powder. Such a 3D scanner can basically meet the 3D scanning needs in most cases.

Of course, when the budget is higher, besides a laser 3D scanner like KSCAN-Magic, as a supplement, the customer can purchase a handheld color 3D scanner (such as iReal 2E), a tracking 3D scanner (such as TrackScan 3D system), a desktop-level 3D scanner, etc.

Each kind of equipment has its own advantages and limitations in different scenarios. Fully recognizing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of 3D scanner and combining them can make 3D scanning more efficient and convenient.

3. Texture restoration: Although there are many types of color 3D scanners on the market, because they are equipped with industrial cameras with limited pixels (pixels of handheld color 3D scanner cameras are mainly 1.3-3 million, and the maximum pixels of fixed photo 3D scanner color camera are generally 12/24 million), and most are fixed-focus cameras and cannot be adjusted according to the size of the item.

Therefore, if you want to guarantee the clarity and restoration effect of 3D textures, it is generally through the SLR (pixel recommendation: from 40 million) equipped with a color calibration card, in a uniform soft light environment for multi-angle shooting (somewhat similar to the photo modeling shooting requirements).

In addition, in the face of a size of less than 30 cm items, if the need for texture restoration is higher, it must also be equipped with a macro lens.

By combining the high-precision model obtained from 3D scanning with the high-quality color photos taken by SLR, the two sets of data are imported into the 3D mapping software for intelligent mapping to easily obtain high-definition and true-color 3D models.

Take the iReal 3D mapping software as an example, a regular color 3D model can be obtained within 30 minutes. Most of the steps are intelligent processing, the user skills requirements are low, and so is the production cost.

3D display of e-commerce

In the past few years, e-commerce platforms have been exploring color 3D modeling solutions with lower costs and higher efficiency.

However, there is no substantial breakthrough in the existing technology, which is why for commodity-level 3D modeling, such as furniture, electrical appliances, kitchen and bathroom, affordable crafts, jewelry, etc., forward modeling is basically the most common modeling method.

In this way, the cost can be greatly reduced through the assembly line division of labor production and the establishment of a large number of material libraries.

3d scanning for e-commerce

Is there a particular reason for this?

To begin with, the demand in this scenario does not lie in the need to truly restore every texture on the item, but to be as beautiful and good-looking as possible (for most industrial design products, because of the presence of high reflectivity, transparency, shadows, etc., making the SLR shooting effect is not as good as directly adding base materials to the model).

What is more, industrial-designed products tend to have structural parts, transparent parts, openings, holes and slots, and other structures, no matter which type of 3D scanning cannot guarantee that the data can be scanned completely.

Meanwhile, the customer happens to have no requirements for the realism and accuracy of the 3D model. Then, the forward modeling solution is often more efficient and economic.

However, in the case of a large amount of modeling / complex surfaces, you can choose a laser 3D scanner as a supplement to quickly complete the accurate modeling of complex surfaces (only the laser 3D scanner can 3D scan items with black or reflective surfaces without spraying powder).

Virtual simulation in the industry

When the virtual simulation system built will be used to guide industrial production (such as building an anti-collision monitoring system) or used for assembly and production education, the customer generally needs to be equipped with a laser 3D scanner for ensuring global frame accuracy and dimensional accuracy of key components.

In the case of virtual teaching of automotive repair, for example, the 3D modeling team can obtain the overall frame data based on the laser 3D scanner for effective division of labor. Each 3D modeler performs model reconstruction on the same 3D scanning data framework. In this way, the position degree of each part and the accuracy of each component will be guaranteed, which greatly saves the workload of adjustment when data is merged later.

In addition, automotive parts tend to have many complex surfaces. The rapid scanning by a 3D laser scanner (3-5 minutes to scan a piece), is way more efficient and more accurate than the 3D modeler with reference to the plane photo for model reconstruction.

Color 3D modeling technology has been updated constantly. In different scenarios, there will continuously generate a more intelligent 3D color modeling technology with lower cost. If you are looking for high-precision and true color 3D modeling solutions, you might be interested in the professional-grade color 3D solutions of Scantech.

About Scantech

SCANTECH (HANGZHOU) CO., LTD. is a global provider of comprehensive 3D solutions. We specialize in R&D, production, and sales of 3D scanners and 3D systems and boast a long history of developing hardware and software. We offer two main product categories: industrial high-precision 3D scanners and professional cost-effective 3D scanners, including portable 3D scanners, tracking 3D scanners, industrial automated 3D systems, and professional color 3D scanners.

Our products are widely used in industrial sectors such as aerospace, automotive, engineering machinery, transportation, 3C electronics, and green energy, as well as in digital application industries including education and research, 3D printing, art and museum, medical and health, public security and justice, virtual world, etc. We are dedicated to providing high-precision, portable, and intelligent 3D scanners to customers and striving to become a globally leading brand of 3D visual measurement.

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