Skip links

Exploring the World of 3D Scanning

Recent Posts

Exploring Different Types of 3D Scanning

To those not in the industry, 3D scanning is a magical world filled with inconceivable numbers by way of accuracy, points per second and resolution. 3D scanning allows us to create digital models of real-world objects or environments which can be used for a variety of purposes such as reverse engineering, inspection or virtual reality. There are different 3D scanning technologies available each with strengths and weaknesses.

Structured Light Scanning

Structured light technology is a popular method used in handheld 3D scanners and works by projecting a pattern of light onto an object and using one or more sensors captures the shape of the deformed pattern and can calculate the distance of each point in the field of view. Also known as triangulation, it is a fast and efficient method of capturing sometimes large fields of view.

Structured light scanners are known for their accuracy and high resolution making them great for a variety of applications depending on the sensor and focal length. However, there are also to lighting conditions that can make it more difficult to use in certain environments such as outdoors.

Structured Light Scanning Illustration

Laser Scanning

Laser scanners have revolutionised the way we capture 3D shapes and surfaces, making it possible to capture data from objects with a high degree of accuracy and resolution whilst being less affected by environmental conditions. These scanners also work via triangulation, projecting a laser point or line onto an object and measuring the reflection with sensors.

The sensors are located at a fixed distance from the laser source, allowing the reflection angle of the laser light to be used to calculate accurate point measurements. By knowing the distance of the scanner from the object, the scanning software can map the surface of the object and record a 3D scan. This method is called triangulation because the projected laser line, the sensor, and the laser emitter form a triangle.

It’s worth noting that the properties of the surface being scanned can affect the scanning process. Shiny or transparent surfaces can be problematic for this technology depending on laser colour and intensity.

Laser Scanning Illustration


Photogrammetry uses photographs to create digital models of real-world objects or environments. Photogrammetry works by taking multiple photos of an object or environment from different angles and utilises software to stitch the photos together into a 3D model. Scale is maintained using scale bars which act as a fixed size reference throughout scanning activity.

Photogrammetry is relatively low-cost and can be performed with only a camera and purpose-built software though dedicated scanners are also available. Photogrammetry captures detailed photographs of the object with the camera and as such, can be time-consuming and requires a good understanding of the software and techniques involved.

Photogrammetry Illustration

Each technology has its own set of strengths and weaknesses so the best choice will depend on the specific needs of the project and the outcome required.

At Formeon, we understand that each of our clients have unique needs and requirements when it comes to 3D scanning. That’s why we offer a range of technologies and work with our clients to determine the best technology for their specific project. We take into consideration accuracy, resolution, speed, and portability required to ensure that we provide an effective solution.

Want to learn more about how 3D scanning can benefit you? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of experts would be happy to discuss your project and provide you with a tailored solution.

We use cookies to provide the best web experience possible.