If you want to generate and print a 3D model of your face, furniture, or any object, you need specialized scanning equipment. Although the said apparatuses are perfect for professionals, those can be as bulky as a projector, and expensive and overkill for the average 3D imaging or printing enthusiast. That is why nowadays, you can have a 3D scanner app do the job.
3D scanner apps became widely used alternatives to 3D scanning equipment fast, like how 3D printer pens substituted 3D printers. There is no surprise to that. 3D scanner apps do not take up your workstation’s space, they can go beyond the best AR apps that can render images in 3D, and some are free.
With various options available for mobile devices, how do you identify which app is the best? This is where our list comes in handy.
A 3D scanner app transforms 2D images taken from various angles into one 3D representation. It can do so with or without the help of advanced camera technologies on your mobile phone. The result you get on your smartphone or tablet PC is somehow like a 360-degree photo but with better depth. The scans may not be highly accurate, though, for there is no app yet that is 100 percent flawless. And that makes the choice difficult for you.
Nevertheless, there is no need to stress over what to download. We are here to help you pinpoint which iOS and Android 3D scanner apps are reliable. Below are our top picks.
Nowadays, a 3D digital model is good if it is in full color and high resolution. This 3D scanner app for iPhone, Scandy Pro, excels in delivering that.
Based on sample outputs online, the app can yield an accurate representation. Think of the advanced graphics in the latest video games, for example. The results are nearly comparable to those. That is thanks to the app being able to tap on the iPhone X to 12 series’ TrueDepth camera sensors, which the said devices use to get Face ID working.
Apart from the render quality, the app is versatile when it comes to the output format. It supports PLY, STL, GLB, USDZ, and OBJ files, so you can process the results further via other 3D editing or printing software.
If there is any downside to the app, it is subjective. What might not sit well with some users is that the service is not cloud-based and a subscription is needed for unlimited saves on the app.
3D Creator, courtesy of Sony, can be considered the granddaddy of any 3D scanner app for Android. That is because it was integrated into the first smartphones that touted built-in 3D scanning capabilities, the Sony XZ1, and its compact version.
As you might have already guessed, the free app is restricted to Sony Xperia phones, unless you get a modified version of it. Although the latter is possible per some online forums, it does not guarantee the app will work safely and smoothly. Nonetheless, 3D Creator is the best for Sony phone users, so we recommend sticking to it if you already have it.
To elaborate, the 3D scanner app delivers high-resolution and printing software-ready face or object outputs. It also supports new smart features. For example, you can already turn your renders into animations, AR content, or live wallpaper, or have them copy your facial expressions via the app.
The 3D Scanner App for iPhone and iPad is almost like Scandy Pro, except for the technology it relies on. If Scandy Pro utilizes Apple devices’ TrueDepth sensors, 3D Scanner App relies on LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors on the iPhone 12 and iPad Pro.
LiDAR is more apt for producing a wide scan than a detailed output. As a result, it is not useable for Face ID. It does its job for 3D scanning objects in high resolution, though. That is also probably why the 3D Scanner App focuses on that function.
Now, you might say that the LiDAR app is not as powerful as Scandy Pro without face scan officially supported. We think it is still great to have because it is free, unlike the latter.
Polycam is nearly the same as the previous LiDAR scanner app on this list but suits architects or home remodelers best.
The 3D scanner app can automatically create a floor plan for you based on your scans. That is a nice extra feature to have, apart from basic 3D imaging and editing.
Polycam also has a feature that is not very common in 3D scanner apps – it can double as a social media for 3D model enthusiasts or a 3D viewer app like Sketchfab. To elaborate, you can compile your scans in the app’s library and view other users’ libraries, too.
The app’s only limitation is that it specializes solely in object and area scanning, which is common in LiDAR scanner apps.
Polycam is free for iOS users and has optional in-app purchases.
This 3D scanner app called itSeez3D can match the top contenders in this list. It also turns out realistic full-color face and object scans and is compatible with more iPad models.
You cannot experience the app in full, though, if you do not have a Structure Sensor from Occipital. The Structure Sensor is an external accessory put on top of the iPad Mini, Air, or Pro camera. It makes 3D model generation via the app possible.
That is not to say the 3D scanner app is not worth it. If you have the budget to buy the compatible accessory, then itSeez3D can work wonders.
Aside from the 3D outputs being lifelike, it has email and Sketchfab sharing support. That is great when you want to collaborate with other creators. Also, the app is cloud-ready, meaning you can back up your files online.
itSeez3D is free, but it may offer in-app purchases for exporting content.
Here is another must-try for Android and iOS device users, Handy Scan – 3D Scanner App. This is a free companion app for Revopoint’s portable POP 3D scanner.
Its best advantage is its support for multiple preset configurations ideal for specific needs. Those are the Feature, Marker, Face, Body, and Dark Modes. Feature Mode suits geometric models while Marker Mode is for curvy objects. Meanwhile, Face and Body Modes are best for detailed people scans, and Dark Mode is for dark-colored objects.
Additionally, the 3D scanner app’s outputs are editable. All you need to do is to rescan the object or person to get better renders.
Scaniverse is a free 3D scanner app that integrates Augmented Reality (AR) features. AR on the app lets you virtually test and measure your 3D models to find out if they will suit a spot in your room or display rack. It helps you catch easier the flaws in your renders even before those are 3D printed.
In terms of render quality, Scaniverse also yields realistic representations thanks to LiDAR technology. It can capture accurately how objects and places, including skyscrapers, look like.
Compatibility-wise, it is quite limited because it works only for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro. Nonetheless, all its advantages outweigh that.
If sharing features matter the most for you when choosing a 3D scanner app, Capture: 3D Scan Anything is a decent pick. It supports more mainstream online messaging platforms compared to most of the apps featured. Examples of platforms it supports are WhatsApp, Slack, and iMessage.
The 3D scanner app renders lifelike representations that are transferrable into an AR environment, although the output is grainy on the edges. Given that, it might suit home planners better than expert 3D modelers.
Capture: 3D Scan Anything is compatible with any iOS device that has TrueDepth camera sensors. It is free on the App Store.
The Qlone 3D Scanner app boasts AR, 4K, and automatic animation features for your 3D models. It does not require you to buy separate accessories, but you have to print a mat for your subject from the app. Also, ARCore or the Google Play Services for AR is needed on Android devices for full app functionality.
The app can scan any object with only two images shot at different angles, which means it is fast. It also allows you to render your work in various formats and share them on popular social media and messaging platforms.
The Qlone 3D Scanner app is free but will prompt you to purchase the premium edition if you want 4K outputs and unlimited exporting of files.
If you are searching for a selfie 3D scanner app for iPhone, choose the Bellus3D FaceApp or Face Maker apps.
The FaceApp version is suitable for the iPhone X to 12 series, while Face Maker works for iPads with Face ID. The former’s best feature is its true-to-life outputs, while the latter allows you to morph, combine and swap faces until you get the result you want.
3D scanning using an app is easy because onscreen prompts are often available to guide you through the process. It is hard to get the snapshots perfect, though. If you have not yet tried 3D scanning, we have a universal guide here that can help you avoid repeating the scan too many times.
Here is how to properly scan an object or person via a mobile device:
1. Put the subject on a rotating base or spacious area for easy multi-angle photography.
2. Make sure the ambient lighting is just right, or the background is not too busy for better scans.
3. Launch the app, then start taking snapshots according to the onscreen instructions.
4. Wait for the app to finish asset conversion into 3D.
5. Choose where to save and share the results.
If you cannot take photos due to errors, you can redownload or wait for a new update for the app on the Google Play Store or App Store. It is also possible that your Android or iPhone camera itself is not working, so double-check that as well and fix it if needed.
Experience the Wonders of 3D Scanner Apps Today
3D scanner apps are very useful in architecture, interior design, animation, and e-commerce. Although not perfect and on par with industrial scanning equipment, they are great as an entry point to 3D technology and for casual or quick rendering. If you want the apps to improve further, there is no choice but to wait because the technology is still in its early phases. Nonetheless, we still hope our list helped you pick the most reliable ones to date. Try an app from our recommendations and experience the wonders of 3D technology today!