From a 3D Scan to Virtual Reality and Everything in Between
The first 3D model I ever created using 3D scanning technology.
That’s when I dove into the realm of depth cameras, depth sensor software, 3D modeling software and fell in love.
Of course, the scanned version didn’t look anything like this final model. Even though I tried different kinds of cameras, like the Intel Real Sense SR300, f200, and D415, the technology isn’t perfect and the software isn’t perfect. Neither are the 3D modeling programs, such as MeshLab, MeshMixer, Blender, 3DCoat, Unity, Maya etc.. The cameras don’t pick up symmetry well, there needs to be a good source of light for all angles of the model being scanned. Some work better on faces and others are best for objects.
The biggest lesson learned was that there is no one particular program that can edit a 3D scan. Even though there are different kinds of 3D modeling software for editing, they don’t work well together. Switching from one program to another is not “as easy as pie”. Some software view an object file type differently. Other software work better with a different file type. Editing the mesh and texture are two separate problems to solve. It look a lot of YouTube, Googling, community forums, and customer support to finally make this starfish into a ninja star I can throw in virtual space.
In the end I managed to a good combination. The SR300 depth sensor camera with 3D System Sense software for getting a decent scan of the object. I used Blender for removing debris around the object that was picked up by the scanner, as well as, providing the option to edit the texture with photoshop. MeshMixer was great for fixing up the mesh’s distortion during the scanning process, but it is best to use this software for .STL file types for 3D printing since it works better for meshes and not their textures. 3DCoat overall, is a great software for editing mesh and texture. Baking the texture map is simple with Retopo and there is more freedom to manipulate vertices when editing the mesh and to decrease the poly count. This is only one solution I have discovered so far. As I continue to create more models, I will learn the strengths and limits of the tools currently available in the world of 3D art. I will write more detailed tutorials in future blogs!
This was the beginning of a whole new understanding of technology and perception for me. One that shifted between the real world and the virtual world, bringing me closer to my goal of creating virtual reality educational video games in science and mathematics.