How to Scan Real Objects to 3D Models Using Your iPhone

The journey into VFX and 3D modeling can be a long, expensive, and difficult one. You likely have to learn a new program, such as Cinema 4D or Blender, find out how to integrate it into your workflow, and spend countless hours practicing before you will have anything remotely usable. Fortunately, new technology and tools is speeding up this process and making it more affordable.

One of these new tools is the app for iOS and Android. It lets you create 3D models using just the camera on your phone! You can scan objects and locations with ease and almost magically you have a usable model that is compatible with many common programs. If you want to see the app in action, the folks at put it to the test and showed off a bunch of potential uses for filmmakers of all skill levels.

First things first, you will have to check compatibility to see if it works with your devices. Most recent iPhones are supported, but Android compatibility is a bit more complicated. At the very least, Android phones will require ARCore support. Fortunate enough to have a working phone? Now you can start experimenting by scanning your room or a nearby object.

The guys at Cinecom made sure to demonstrate how to get the cleanest captures with their main tips being to make sure your scene and object have plenty of texture, avoid hard light and windows, and to loop around the object or room multiple times at different angles for maximum effectiveness.

Once you have a model you can then share it using the app’s social media tools or download it to a computer for working with other programs. The sharing aspect is quite cool, as one use case presented in the video is to scan a room and then placing “cameras” around as angles to use as storyboards you can then share with your crew.

For advanced effects, you will want to use the download function to save various types of 3D modeling files for use in tons of popular applications, think Cinema 4D or Maya. The example given of a barrel flying away showed how a quick animation of the model can be used to easily make a realistic-looking visual effect in your video.

There are plenty of other uses out there, including a neat one if you want to animate a person. Scan someone in a “T-pose” with the arms straight out to the side and then take that model and upload it to Mixamo, an Adobe product that helps automate the animation process. With minimal rigging, you can immediately download a rigged-up model or a pre-built animation you can use in your VFX software of choice.

This app is a super-easy way to get started with 3D modeling and animation and I think is useful for creating a one-off animation without needing to learn everything about it. Are you going to try some 3D modeling and VFX with the app?


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