Epic’s new RealityScan app can make 3D models from smartphone photos

Epic’s new RealityScan app can make 3D models from smartphone photos

Epic Games has announced a new smartphone app that can create 3D models of objects from a series of smartphone images. The idea is that you’ll be able to use the app, called RealityScan, to scan an object in the real world — say, a chair — and then introduce scanning that object into your game or project.

You can see how it works in the video at the top of this post, which shows someone scanning a brown chair, and the result looks like a handcrafted 3D model. The app is currently available in a first-come-first-served beta via Apple’s TestFlight platform which will be open to 10,000 users.

You are in the beta version of RealityScan, and using the app is very simple. To take a series of photos, you can hold down the capture button or take the shots individually, and while you do that, you’ll want to slowly move around the object to take different shots. The app asks you to take at least 20 photos. Once you’ve finished scanning, you can submit the model to be uploaded to Sketchfab, a 3D modeling platform, and after a few minutes, you’ll be able to see your scan on the site.

Unfortunately, the two separate scans I did for my office chair weren’t completely As good-looking as the chair Epic shows in its marketing:

Epic’s new RealityScan app can make 3D models from smartphone photos

I promise my chair doesn’t have a big hole in the middle.
Shot by Jay Peters/The Edge

Epic’s new RealityScan app can make 3D models from smartphone photos

I kind of wish my chair would float.
Shot by Jay Peters/The Edge

Wiping my water bottle on the table couldn’t have been much better:

Epic’s new RealityScan app can make 3D models from smartphone photos

It seems that this water bottle will not work well.
Shot by Jay Peters/The Edge

While my RealityScan models may look more like abstract art than believable 3D models, there may be a number of reasons why they are inconsistent. My iPhone 12 mini cameras are probably not good enough. Maybe I wasn’t in a well-lit room. Maybe I didn’t make enough sweeps or didn’t get the right angles. And the app is launching in a limited beta, so Epic is supposed to keep iterating until the official release of the app.

I still think the app holds a lot of hope, as it can be a really useful tool for quickly creating 3D models using just your smartphone. An early access release on iOS is set for spring, and an Android version of the app is scheduled to launch later this year.

And that’s not the only developer tool news we’ll get from Epic this week; The company is hosting a State of Unreal event on Tuesday, April 5th at 11 a.m. ET.

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