Scanning a VW bus

This started out as a job for Artec. We were asked to scan parts of a car for our client. When we saw the minivan, we fell in love with it and decided to scan it from top to bottom. It took our scanning pro Alexey a day to do it.

Scanning the body

Scanning the sides (the body) of the car was easy. We used the texture tracking feature in Artec Studio, which allowed us to finish it quickly and without problems.

Scanning underneath

The bottom of the car was easy too. It had a lot of geometry, so the software easily identified how to align frames to one another in real time. The scanner didn't lose alignment during scanning. If you have a way to get the car up in the air (we had a special lift), scanning the bottom of almost any car should be easy and quick.

Scanning the roof and windows

This was difficult at first. The windows were see-through, so the software had difficulty understanding that the window is actually a hard surface. We had to cover the windows with a white spray in order to scan them.

The roof was difficult because it was flat (no geometry) and evenly painted (no texture). This meant that the software, at times thought the scanner was standing in one place, even though it was moving. The trick here was to take small pieces of scotch tape and stick them on the roof sporadically (every 20-30cm). Then cut them out in post processing. This way, the software sees some "geometry" in the field of view and understands where the scanner is in 3D.

Other factors

  • After scanning we had a lot of data! A lot! We used the most powerful computer in the office. It has 40GB (!) of RAM to expedite post-processing. Ordinarily we use 10GB computers.
  • It was a gloomy day. Had it been sunny, we might have had problems with too much light.
  • The Artec battery lasted the entire day. We never recharged it.
  • We took off each tire and scanned them separately, as it proved impossible to scan them well while still on.
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