3D scanning on a budget
August 12, 2011

3D scanning on a budget

In this very short article I want to show you how to achieve some fairly decent 3D scans for under $200 using AgiSofts PhotoScan software..

The software its self is very simple and the photos can be taken from any positions, providing that an object to be reconstructed is visible on at least two of the images. Both image alignment and 3D model reconstruction is fully automated so there is no need for lengthy calibration processes.

For this example I’ve used my good friend and co worker Andy Turner you can check out some of his animation work here Supermachine

Here you can see Ive taken 9 photographs using my Nikon D80. No calibration or markers / tracking points needed

And this is what it comes up with after about 10 minutes of processing the photographs

The geometry can be exported and loaded into zbrush as an obj.. The software also exports the texture map..

A close up of the raw scan data. Its not great but easily cleaned up given a bit of time.

With the background polygons removed we are left with just the head

The head model above with the colour map applied

It’s fairly simple to retopologise the mesh using the project all function in zbrush.. For this example I simply grabbed an old model which was already UV mapped and quickly projected the scan data onto the mesh.

This is the retopologised head with a bit of cleanup work and some high frequence detail added from the colour map..

Finally we have a textured highish resolution head. This process is not 100% perfect by any stretch of the imagination but its a good start and for under $200 its an extremely cost effective way of getting quick and easy scan results.. This example took about half an hour to put together so I’m sure much better results are easily achievable given a bit more time and perhaps a multiple camera rig.


  1. farid
    farid August 31, 17:31
    better & original example http://vimeo.com/22510336 http://vimeo.com/22511823
  2. James Busby
    James Busby Author August 31, 17:37
    Hey Farid, yep its a better example some nice work there. However I did upload this onto the Ten24 Blog a good month or so before this was up on vimeo :) http://www.ten24.info/index.php/Blog/
  3. David Dye
    David Dye September 07, 04:09
    Absolutely Brilliant! Man I wish I had more time (and money) to play around more with the 3D stuff. Stuck in a 2D world:(

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