The Difference Between 3D Modeling and 3D Scanning - Skywell Software

The Difference Between 3D Modeling and 3D Scanning

The Difference Between 3D Modeling and 3D Scanning
Ilya Dudkin
2019-03-11
3d scan vs 3D model

Even though the two technologies may appear to be similar, there are some differences between them. For better acquaintance with both of them let’s take a look at the definition of each as well as some of the ways they are used in practice. So, you will know the difference between a 3d scan vs 3D model.  

What is 3D Modeling? 

3D modeling is a method of using computer graphics to create a 3D representation of any object or surface. This technology plays a key role in many creative spheres of activity. It used by architects to create a 3D representation of their work, video game creators rely on it to bring their characters to life and Hollywood relies on it for special effects. 

In terms of recreating physical objects, this technology is very useful because it does not require physical contact with the object since everything is done by the computer.  If you are wondering why this is such a big deal, imagine that you are an interior designer in Australia, and you were hired for a project in the United States. You can either hop on a plane and come to the client’s location or you can do a 3D model of the client’s interior. Unless you really enjoy traveling, making a 3D model is much easier.  

As far as virtual objects are concerned, we can use 3D modeling to create objects that do not yet exist. For example, if you are an architect and you have an amazing idea for a building that has yet to be created, it would be much easier to show the design’s complexity and beauty to investors via a 3D instead of on a piece of paper.  

Another interesting application of technology that 3D scanning and modeling services are working on is 3D body scanning, which opens up a whole range of possibilities in terms of customization. It could be used for clothing manufacturers to create just the right garment for each body type, custom made sportswear and even 3D selfies.  

3D Modeling

The top advantages of 3D modeling are:

  • You can create a model of something that does not exist
  • No need to go anywhere to collect data
  • You can test the demand for a product without actually making it 
  • The design opportunities span the gamut 

3D Scanning 

3D scanning is taking a laser and passing it over an object or a surface. This is usually done with a laser scanner that has a special sensor that captures all the contour information about that object or surface. It is best used for creating an environment that has very complex geometry. With 3D scanning, you can recreate a design that is currently in place and test it to make improvements. For example, let’s say that you need to find out the fault tolerance of a building in case of an earthquake. You can use 3D scanning to recreate this building and test it under simulated earthquake conditions.   

The advantages of 3D scanning are:

  • Faster data collection 
  • Easy information gathering processes 
  • Razor sharp accuracy 
3d scanning

The difference between 3D scanning and 3D modeling is that they are used for different things. For example, 3D scanning would be more useful if you need to collect data about complex objects. If the object that you would like to study does not yet exist, then 3D modeling would be the right choice. In terms of time savings, it really depends on your project, your industry and what you are looking to get as a result of completing your project. Laser scanning will collect a lot of information for you in a very short period of time, but as we saw with the example mentioned above, it could save you time on potential travel. Ultimately, if you need help deciding, remember that in order to use 3D scanning, you must have a physical object to scan. If such an object is not available, then you have no choice but to use 3D modeling.