The Pros and Cons of 3D Scanning Apps vs Dedicated 3D Scanners

By on February 28th, 2023 in learning, news

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3D scanning results [Source: James / Revopoint]

After the iPhone X was released in 2017, the general public became more aware of 3D scanners.

Since then, many 3D scanning apps have become available on the App Store and Google Play.

Before 2021, 3D scanners were very expensive for individuals to purchase. As a result, many people turned to using 3D scanning apps for their art and other purposes. Some of these apps gained a large user base. These apps use different 3D scanning technologies that are based on different hardware features in current smartphone models. For example, the iPhone uses LIDAR technology, while Samsung and most other Android phones use photogrammetry.

All 3D scanning apps can use the camera on a phone to capture the color and texture of scanned objects. Because the camera on a phone is typically better than the one on a 3D scanner, the detail and color of the models generated by 3D scanning apps are usually clearer than those generated by a 3D scanner.

This can sometimes lead people to believe that 3D scanning apps are more accurate than 3D scanners.

However, when these models generated by 3D scanning apps are opened in 3D software and the color is removed, the lack of detail often becomes very apparent.

3D scanning results from a smartphone app vs a dedicated 3D scanner [Source: James / Revopoint]

The surface of the models is often very rough, and individual polygons can be easily seen. In terms of accuracy, 3D scanning apps are generally lower than most 3D scanners, regardless of the technology they use.

Despite this, the color of the models generated by 3D scanning apps is often quite vivid, making them useful for animation or movie production. In this way, 3D scanning apps can be a helpful tool for 3D artists.

On the other hand, dedicated 3D scanners are more suited for industrial applications such as reverse engineering, industrial design, medicare, and quality control.

If you are a 3D printer operator and want to copy figures or sculptures with precision, 3D scanning apps might not be sufficient for your needs. In this case, it would be best to purchase a more accurate and affordable dedicated 3D scanner.

Another difference between 3D scanning apps and 3D scanners is the scanning range. Most dedicated 3D scanners cannot be used to scan large objects like rooms or boats, but most 3D scanning apps can scan both small objects like cups and large objects like rooms and houses.

However, the accuracy of the models generated by scanning larger objects with a phone is typically lower than that of small objects.

Overall, 3D scanning smartphone apps have helped to increase interest in 3D modeling applications such as the metaverse, 3D art, and virtual reality. This has led to an increase in demand for 3D scanners on the market.

By Luca Strauss

ith over 5 years of experience in writing scientific and technical articles. Now, they work as a copywriter at Revopoint 3D Technology Ltd, where they gained in-depth knowledge of 3D scanning technology and scanners.

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