A customer enters their living room and instantly envisions how a new sofa set will look there. They're no longer using the mind's eye to see the possibilities, though. They're using a much better tool: 3D imaging.

Research shows that the demand for scanning technologies is expected to grow by more than seven percent between 2023 and 2030. That's because it saves companies effort, money, and time while boosting their production quality.

3D scanning capabilities are helping developers create incredible experiences in virtual worlds and augmented 3D environments. Let's explore how 3D scanning is shaping extended reality.


What Is 3D Scanning?

A 3D scanner offers an accurate and fast way to digitize real-world objects. It can be used for computer-aided design, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR).

Swedish home furnishings company IKEA has already adopted 3D digitization to become more competitive. They now offer IKEA Place, an AR shopping app. This app can overlay furniture models onto surfaces, like floors, in customers' homes.

The real-time 3D models show customers how certain items would appear in their houses before purchasing them. It's a simple way to enhance the customer experience and generate more sales for IKEA. Let's examine how 3D scanning can specifically benefit VR and AR.


Virtual Reality

VR is a computer simulation of 3D images or environments. Consumers can interact with these environments or images physically using special equipment.

Examples of this equipment include gloves containing sensors and headsets with screens. Today's most popular VR headsets include the following:

  • Google Cardboard
  • Samsung Gear
  • Oculus Rift

The VR industry is focused on storytelling via seemingly real, immersive experiences. Let's explore AR now.


Augmented Reality

AR involves superimposing computer images on people's views of their world. It consists of adding real-time virtual object layers to the real world. This allows you to blend the digital with the physical.

IKEA's app mentioned above is an example of how AR works. The technology is changing today's competitive retail landscape by altering how companies present their products online or in apps.

Businesses are entering the 3D space through AR to meet their marketing and sales goals. AR is accessible to customers since it can operate through mobile apps. Companies' meaningful and interactive AR experiences can help elevate consumers' affinity toward their brands.

Why 3D Scanning and AR Work So Well

AR and 3D scanning are emerging industries. Creating a 3D virtual environment required building objects with modeling tools in the past. It was time-consuming and costly to develop even simple environments with this strategy.

3D scanners have simplified this process and made it more cost-efficient. Full-body scanners have helped AR developers more quickly produce higher-quality 3D models of individuals.


How VR and AR Differ

AR and VR are often confused. These two technologies can provide an immersive experience but in unique ways.

VR replaces a person's vision with a virtual environment. AR incorporates virtual elements into a person's view of the real world.

Another difference between AR and VR is that VR often requires people to wear headsets to block out their surroundings. People can access AR through their smartphones or transparent headsets.

Yet another difference between the two technologies is that VR produces fictional realities you can interact with and explore. AR enhances the virtual and real worlds with graphics and information.

The VR and AR User Experience

VR headsets make people feel like they're in different places, like distant planets or fantasy worlds. They see only their virtual worlds and can use hand gestures or controllers to manipulate and move objects.

AR smartphone apps let you see digital elements in the real world, like Pokemon characters in your living room. Users can still see their surroundings but also see added useful or fun features.


The Future of 3D Scanning

The demand for content-rich 3D environments is expected to climb in the coming years. This means more businesses will use 3D scanning technologies to capture objects for VR or AR projects.

Expect more retailers to generate 3D product models to let customers experience their offerings without being physically present. Fashion firms will also find it easier to provide richer digital experiences to customers by displaying their new fashion options in 360 degrees.


3D Scanners

Quality scanners offer excellent texture mapping and resolution to produce realistic environments. Texture mapping is where 2D images, called textures, are applied onto 3D surfaces, like scanned objects. The textures may make 3D models look better and more natural by adding shading, detail, and color.

Textures are stored in special files where pixels have pairs of coordinates (V and U) corresponding to locations on the scanned objects. This enables 3D scanning software to wrap these textures around the 3D surfaces.

Non-Textured Mapping

Non-textured mapping is another way to apply 2D images onto 3D surfaces. It uses only geometric data from 3D scanners to produce plain surfaces. These surfaces contain no details or colors.

Whether someone chooses non-textured or textured mapping depends on their 3D scanning's purpose and the quality they need. Textured mapping makes 3D models appear more attractive and lifelike, but requires more processing power and data. The non-textured option is simpler and faster, but might not capture an object's nuances and fine details.

Several factors affect textured mapping's quality. These include the scanner's accuracy and resolution.

Other factors include the scanning environment's color and lighting conditions. How scans from various angles are aligned and stitched also has an influence.


AR and VR File Formats

File formats used in 3D scanning include .wrl and .obj for textured models. The format .stl is often used for an un-textured model. Quality scanners can export several file formats. This means users shouldn't have difficulty finding the proper file formats for their 3D scan data.


How We Can Help With 3D Environments

3D scanning is revolutionizing extended reality for businesses and customers. It can be used with AR to give customers seemingly real, immersive experiences. This canning technology can also be paired with VR.

Go3DPro.com is your leading source of 3D scanners. Our scanners range from handheld to industrial and dental scanning devices.

Each scanner is user-friendly, efficient, and quick. Get a complimentary quote on a top-tier scanner today!