A Beginner’s Guide to using 3D Scanning Apps for Photogrammetry

On the journey where pixels transform into palpable wonders, there exists a mesmerizing process called photogrammetry, where the mundane is translated into the extraordinary, and at the core of this transformative voyage are the mystical tools known as 3D scanning apps 🙂  This article is a beginners guide to 3D scanning apps.

In this guide, we’ll delve into:

  1. Introduction to 3D scanning
  2. Explore the concept of photogrammetry, and
  3. A guide to effectively using 3D scanning

What Is 3D Scanning?

Understanding the basics is important before delving into the intricate world of 3D scanning. Simply put, 3D scanning is a technology that captures the physical world in three dimensions, converting real-world objects into digital representations. I good place to try it out is Polycam, that can be used on the go with your smartphone.

This process involves using a device, often a handheld scanner or a smartphone equipped with a compatible app – to capture an object’s geometry and surface characteristics, creating a digital model that can be manipulated and analyzed.

What Is Photogrammetry?

Photogrammetry, on the other hand, is a technique that utilizes photographs to generate accurate 3D models. By analyzing the positions and angles of multiple photos of the same object or scene, photogrammetry software can triangulate the points and construct a detailed 3D model.

This method has found applications in various fields, including archaeology, architecture, and even in creating realistic environments for video games.


Guide to Using 3D Scanning Apps Effectively

Now that we have a grasp of the basics, let’s explore some essential tips for using 3D scanning effectively:

Optimize Lighting Conditions: Pay careful attention to lighting conditions when using 3D scanning apps. Well-lit environments with uniform lighting reduce shadows and enhance the accuracy of scans. Experiment with different lighting setups to find the optimal conditions for your scanning needs.

Master Autofocus and Manual Focus: Depending on the app and your device, you may have the option for autofocus or manual focus. Experiment with both to understand their impact on scan sharpness. Manual focus can be particularly useful when capturing objects with varying depths.

Explore Multi-Scan Techniques: Some 3D scanning apps support multi-scan techniques, allowing you to merge multiple scans into a cohesive model. This is especially valuable for larger objects or scenes. Learn the process of capturing overlapping scans and merging them for a comprehensive 3D representation.

Utilize Augmented Reality (AR): If your scanning app supports augmented reality features, leverage them for real-time visual guidance. AR overlays can assist in aligning scans, ensuring comprehensive coverage, and providing immediate feedback on the quality of your captures.

Experiment with Texture Mapping: If your 3D scanning app captures color information, delve into texture mapping. Understanding how to effectively capture and apply textures to your models adds a layer of realism, making your 3D scans more visually appealing and informative.

Backup and Archive Scans: As you progress in your scanning projects, develop a system for backing up and archiving your scans. This not only safeguards your work but also allows you to revisit and reprocess scans if needed. Consider organizing scans based on projects, dates, or specific objects for easy retrieval.

Explore Export Formats: Familiarize yourself with the export formats supported by your 3D scanning app. Different projects may require specific file formats for compatibility with other software or platforms. Being proficient in exporting to various formats enhances the versatility of your scanned models.

Document Workflow Procedures: Develop a comprehensive documentation of your workflow procedures. This includes the steps you take before, during, and after scanning. A well-documented workflow serves as a reference for future projects, streamlining your process and reducing the likelihood of errors.

Balance Speed and Quality: Striking a balance between scan speed and quality is essential. Understand the capabilities of your app and adjust settings accordingly. In some cases, you may prioritize speed for quick captures, while other projects may require a meticulous focus on achieving the highest scan quality.

Post-Processing: In addition to the built-in features of your scanning app, explore external post-processing tools. Free software like MeshLab or Blender can further refine your 3D models, offering advanced editing and optimization capabilities.

By immersing yourself in the intricacies of your chosen 3D scanning app and incorporating these advanced tips, you’ll not only harness the full potential of the app but also elevate your 3D scanning endeavors to new heights of precision and creativity.


From understanding the fundamentals to mastering advanced techniques, and navigating through 3D scanning apps, the journey is one of continual discovery. As you embark on your own creative odyssey, may each scan be a brushstroke on the canvas of innovation, and may your exploration of this transformative technology be endlessly rewarding.

Happy scanning!


If you liked this blog post, you might also want to read this one:
Top 5 3D Scanner Apps for Your Smartphone.

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