Occasionally, you might catch yourself wishing you had a digital 3D representation of a physical object. Maybe you’re making a replacement part for a broken tool, or designing a modern vase inspired by the organic form of a family heirloom. You could buy a 3D scanner for the job, but why invest in new equipment when all you need is a regular 2D camera, like the one you probably have in your pocket?
Creating a 3D scanner camera from one that takes 2D pictures is, in fact, possible – the key is angles, and lots of them. The process is straightforward: Download an app on your smartphone, snap many pictures of the same object from multiple angles, and feed them to some special software to produce a 3D design.
Of course, there are smaller details to consider in practice to optimize the scan, but the methodology is pretty simple.
Just to note, there are electronic devices on the market that work in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet to produce a 3D scan, but we’ll talk mainly about using a smartphone by itself to create a 3D scanner camera in this article.