How Does 3D Scanning Work?

Jul 19, 2019 | 3D Rendering

The first step to 3D printing is mastering the 3D scanning process, which is much easier than it sounds. While you can create a 3D model from scratch using modelling software, 3D scanning real-world objects can make the process much easier. If you’re curious about how 3D scanning works, then this the guide for you!

What is 3D Scanning?

3D scanning is the process of analyzing a real-world object and digitally recreating it, in both shape and appearance. 3D scanning allows for the creation of a perfect 3-dimensional model, which can help you in the formation of bigger 3D projects. It’s also incredibly useful for reconstructing, simulating or analyzing in-progress ideas, as there are a variety of machines and methods that can scan 3D objects and create a digital replica. The three main scanning methods include laser 3D scanning, structured light scanning and photogrammetry.

How Does it Work?

Laser Scanning

This is the most common and most used 3D scanning method right now. The light of a laser is used to digitally capture the object’s shape before a digital representation pops onto your screen. This type of 3D scan captures fine details and free form shapes to create the most accurate scan possible, making it the perfect method to use for scanning complex objects, as the laser can reach points other traditional methods can’t. The laser’s light functions much like a camera, in that it captures its field of view, with a dot or line running over the object to measure various distance points.

Structured Light Scanning

This method uses a projector that projects various lighting patterns onto the surface of your real-world object. The light distortions on the object are recorded and, when put together with the proper programming, will create a 3D scan. This technique is commonly used in environmental or facial recognition technology.


Photogrammetry takes measurements from photographs to make 3D scans of an object. Using the parallax taken from several images at different perspectives, photogrammetry can record complex 2D and 3D motion fields. It works to replicate the binocular effect of human vision and uses it to gather information about the subject. The process then collects the data, including the object’s volume, shape, and depth, to create an accurate scan. Even though this is the method used when turning 2D images into accurate 3D designs, they won’t be as accurate as the other methods discussed above.

Using 3D Scanning Technology

3D scanning is a fast and easy way to create 3D models as well as prints. Applications for 3D scans can positively affect the medical field, for example, in terms of creating prosthetics and supports. It can create dentures and implants for the dental sector, getting rid of the need for crafting teeth moulds entirely.

At EnDesign, we’ve been providing clients with high-quality 3D productions since 2013. Located in Toronto, Ontario, our animation studio offers services like 3D architectural renderings, projection mapping, animation, visualizations and more. Using the most advanced technology and excellent customer service to bring your vision to life, visit our website today for more information.



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