Epic games worked with Quixel and just release the photogrammetry app RealityScan which turns smartphone photos into high-fidelity 3D models. The app is called RealityScan and is a paired down version of the desktop version of RealityCapture. Both combine a set of 2D images to make 3D assets. The idea is to enable game developers and other creatives to scan real-world objects at any time and any place for their projects (or the MetaVerse if that becomes a thing).

Engadget tried the iPhone app out and shows us how it works.

The scanning process begins with signing into your Epic Games account and taking at least 20 photos of an object from all sides. As you move your phone around, a real-time quality map shows how well you’ve covered it: green denotes well-covered areas, yellow could use more attention and red needs the most additional photos.

The app uploads and automatically aligns the images in the cloud as you take the photos. You can preview the model through the camera view and switch between the quality map and an in-progress, full-color render. When you want to crop it, it pops up 3D handles for you to drag around, ensuring it captures only the item, not the floor beneath it or background objects.

The process works best with simple items captured in even, indirect lighting (reflective or wet surfaces won’t capture well). It also appears to work best with larger objects, as my attempt to capture a small Mr. T action figure resulted in something that looks more like a pointillistic painting than a usable model.

The iPhone App version hasn’t got very good reviews (2.2 stars) – but it’s a start.

This idea isn’t new. There has been research and experiments in this space since the early 2000’s; but it’s an interesting attempt even if it seems to have a lot of growing pains to work out.

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