NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Getting started with Polycam
Whether you’re a first-time user or a Polycam Pro, this detailed guide will help you take advantage of all of Polycam’s capabilities.
- Getting started with Polycam
- Creating a scan
- Capture modes
- Processing your capture
- Photo Mode
- LiDAR Mode
- Adjusting your capture
- Ways to view your capture
- Exporting from Polycam
- File export types
Creating a scan
There are four different ways to create a scan in Polycam. To scan objects and spaces, use either Photo Mode or LiDAR Mode. To create models and floor plans of indoor spaces, use Room Mode. To capture 360 panoramic photos, use 360 Mode.
Processing your capture
Once you have captured your object using Photo or LiDAR mode, it is time to process the images into a 3D model. Both modes offer processing presets that can be selected based on how you plan to use the scan – for game engines, VFX, professional workflows, etc.
Best for fast loading and real-time rendering environments. Best for game engines and web.
Polygon count: ▲
Texture size: ■
Texture maps: ✓ Ambient Occlusion Map ✓ Normal Map
Provides a good balance of high resolution and usability. Best for game engines and iOS/mobile.
Polygon count: ▲▲
Texture size: ■■■■■■
Texture maps: ✓ Ambient Occlusion Map ✓ Normal Map
Recommended for very high-definition image and video rendering. Best for rendering and VFX.
Polygon count: ▲▲▲
Texture size: ■■■■■■ ■■■■■■
Texture maps: ✓ Ambient Occlusion Map ✓ Normal Map ✓ Roughness
Polygon count: ▲▲▲▲
Texture size: ■■■■■■ ■■■■■■ ■■■■■■
Texture maps: ✓ Albedo textures
PNG: Best for textures with transparency and crisp details, larger file sizes. JPG: Best for textures where a slight loss in quality is acceptable, smaller file sizes.
Restricting the depth range may be useful, for example, to exclude background material from an object capture.
Adjusting your capture
Ways to view your capture
Exporting from Polycam
File export types
Polycam scans can be exported as a number of different file types. Use this guide to help select the best file type for your project.
The Collada format supports geometry, appearance properties (color, material, textures), animation, kinematics, and physics. It stores data using XML markup language.
DXF is short for Drawing Exchange Format or Drawing Interchange Format and is a type of vector file. Engineers, designers and architects often use the DXF format for 2D and 3D drawings during product design.
Several 3D applications support DXF format, but it is most often used to share designs across different CAD programs.
FBX files (.fbx) are kinda like OBJ files because they have 3D object data, but they also have animation data too. This makes them super popular in film, gaming, and VFX— industries that need fancy models, materials, and animation.
GL Transmission Format (.glTF) is a file format that serves as an open-source, royalty-free counterpart to formats like FBX. This file supports static models, animation, and moving scenes. Developers often use this format in native web applications.
The LAS format is a file format designed for the interchange and archiving of lidar point cloud data. It is an open, binary format specified by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. The format is widely used and regarded as an industry standard for lidar data.
OBJ files (.obj) contain 3D geometry information. This is a common choice for exporting a mesh from most modeling software. As a relatively universal format, it can be useful when you need to work with an object in multiple applications. It’s also commonly used in CAD and 3D printing.
In addition to geometry, the OBJ format can also encode color and texture information. This information is stored in a separate .mtl file (Material Template Library). However, the format does not support animation.
PLY is a computer file format known as the Polygon File Format or the Stanford Triangle Format. It was designed to store three-dimensional data from 3D scanners. The data storage format supports a relatively simple description of a single object as a list of nominally flat polygons.
A PTS file is a simple text file used to store point cloud data typically from LIDAR scanners. The first line gives the number of points to follow.
STL encodes a 3D model's surface geometry using a triangular mesh. It is a simple and efficient 3D file format that only stores the model's geometry. The STL format has both ASCII and binary representations, but binary files are more common due to their smaller size.
USD (Universal Scene Descriptor) is a file format developed internally by Pixar that is now open source. It contains object, material, scene, and animation data. In many ways, USD is superseding typical expectations of a file format, as it efficiently stores entire scene data.
USDZ is a proprietary format created jointly by Apple and Pixar specifically for AR. With this format, you can create 3D augmented reality content for newer Apple devices.
xyz file formats are probably the simplest of the 3D structure files, since they contain little more than the x, y and z coordinates of each atom in the molecule.