Different Types of 3D Capture and Volumetric Scanning Equipment

There are many different types of 3D scanning technologies and processes, but they can generally be grouped into one of three categories: photogrammetry, structured light, and volumetric.

Each of these techniques has unique properties that make it well-suited for specific 3D scanning services. The type you choose will depend on the volume of data you need to capture, the size or scope of your project, your budget, and other factors. Let’s take a closer look at each 3D capture approach and see which is best for your needs.


Photogrammetry uses a series of photographs taken from different angles to produce a 3D model. This may sound simple, but it is actually a highly accurate process.

The principle is similar to what happens when you take a selfie: you capture an image of yourself from one angle, and a computer uses the details in that one image to create a 3D model.

In the case of photogrammetry, the camera takes multiple images of the subject from different angles, and a computer uses those photos to create a 3D model. This is a very accurate approach, but it does have some limitations.

For starters, it requires that you have a large number of photographs of the subject taken from a variety of angles. And you have to be able to get a clear view of the subject from every angle: you can’t hide behind it or get too close.

It also requires a high-quality camera that’s capable of capturing a lot of detail. You can’t use a camera phone; you’ll get too much distortion in the photo. A DSLR or high-end camera with a zoom lens is ideal.

Structured Light

This approach works by projecting a pattern of light onto the subject, which then gets picked up by an array of cameras. A computer uses that information to determine the relative position of each part of the subject.

This can be effective for creating models of large objects, such as buildings or sculptures. Structured light scanning is frequently used for industrial scanning applications, such as high-end engineering and architectural visualizations, for reverse engineering and inspection purposes, and for the digitization of large objects.

Volumetric Scanning

Volumetric scanning, also known as structured light scanning, is a type of laser scanning. It is used to create high-resolution 3D scans of objects or scenes with the help of a volumetric scanner.

Unlike photogrammetry, which creates a model based on the visible surface of the object, volumetric scanning creates a 3D model based on the full extent of the object, including any hidden internal parts.

This scanning approach is ideal for scanning objects with hidden or internal details, such as an engine or medical equipment. It is also a good choice if you have a large object to capture.

3D Printing in Relation to a Volumetric Scanner 

With 3D printing, the goal is not just to create a 3D model; you also want to do it in such a way that the model can be printed in 3D.

For example, if your goal is to create a miniature model of a car, you want the model to be detailed and look just as good as if it had been created using a full-scale scanner.

Volumetric scanning is the best approach for this. It will provide a high-resolution 3D model that is ready to print.

Point Cloud Based Scanning

Using a laser scanner, you can capture a large volume of data that can be used to create a point cloud. You can then use software to assemble and transform the point cloud into a high-quality 3D model.

This process is particularly useful for indoor environments, and it is well-suited for scanning large objects, such as buildings and stadiums, or scanning objects with hidden or internal details.


To recap, the key points to keep in mind when choosing your 3D scanning services are as follows:

– Photogrammetry works best for scanning objects that are large or small, in full sunlight, indoors, and in any weather condition.

– Structured light works best for scanning large, stationary objects.

– Volumetric scanning works best for scanning large, stationary objects with hidden details.

– Point cloud scanning works best for scanning large volumes indoors.

Now, armed with this information, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about which type of 3D scanning is best for your needs.