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€10,237 pledged of €60,000 goal
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By 3Digify Technologies
€10,237 pledged of €60,000 goal
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About this project

-- Please read the updates to learn more about the current status of the project --

3D-scanners are often thought of as horribly expensive high-tech devices. However, most people already have the core components at home: Cameras, video projectors and a computer. Our software "3Digify" turns them into powerful 3D-scanners!

If this campaign succeeds, we will publish 3Digify partially open source and offer basic geometry acquisition for free!

A full-fledged, flexible and precise 3D-scanner driven by 3Digify: Just connect  two cameras and a projector to your computer!
A full-fledged, flexible and precise 3D-scanner driven by 3Digify: Just connect two cameras and a projector to your computer!

Our solution consists of two applications that both run locally on your computer.

3Digify Scan takes control of the hardware and is used for the actual scanning. It enables you to position the devices correctly and guides you through the acquisition process. In order to support our vision of an extremely flexible platform, we want to make this tool open source: Add special, exotic cameras or completely integrate 3D scanning into your own application. Of course, we will provide out-of-the-box support for most off-the-shelf hardware (e.g. webcams, DSLRs and computer vision cameras) and continuously add more devices.

3Digify Reconstruct performs the actual 3D reconstruction. Our technology is extremely flexible and only operates on the acquired images. It actually does not care ...

  • ... which camera model you used.
  • ... how you positioned the cameras during acquisition.
  • ... if you moved or adjusted the cameras during acquisition.
  • ... if you turned the object manually, used a turntable or - in case of big objects - moved the scanner around the object.

Some of its features will be entirely free if this campaign succeeds, since we want to make this technology available for everyone. This means, that you will be able to compute a 3D mesh in common CAD file formats (suitable for e.g. 3D printing) without paying any money.

If you would like to have additional features such as ultra-high mesh resolution or color-, normal and displacement maps (as shown below), you can subscribe to all features for a small monthly fee. Backers that support us now get a big discount (check our rewards)!

Free / premium feature comparison (click to enlarge)
Free / premium feature comparison (click to enlarge)
  

On our Sketchfab account you can find a gallery of many objects that we scanned with 3Digify. You can view the whole gallery directly in your web-browser. Depending on your internet connection, some models might take some time to load completely. Please wait until the loading bar at the top of the window has disappeared.

┗ Scanned with two Canon EOS 6D DSLR cameras a Dell M115HD video projector.

┗ Scanned with two Canon EOS 100D DSLR cameras and a Dell M115HD video projector

 ┗ Scanned with two Canon EOS 100D DSLR cameras and a Dell M115HD video projector

 ┗ Scanned with two Canon EOS 100D DSLR cameras and a Dell M115HD video projector

We performed a benchmark with a variety of commercial scanning devices. Using 3Digify, even a low priced setup consisting of 2 Canon EOS 1100D can capture objects at much higher fidelity than most state-of-the-art 3D scanners, which cost a fortune. This is not surprising, since 3Digify uses the full resolution of your camera, whereas professional scanning systems are often only composed of low-resolution cameras.

3Digify compared to different professional devices  (click to enlarge)
3Digify compared to different professional devices (click to enlarge)

Recently, photogrammetry tools have become increasingly popular where a 3D surface can be computed from many photos of an object. Photogrammetry is far less robust and precise than our solution and can only be used for approximating the coarse shape of the surface. In contrast, 3Digify measures the surface precisely at very high resolution due to the projector. This yields significantly better results.

3Digify compared to photogrammetry (click to enlarge)
3Digify compared to photogrammetry (click to enlarge)

Acquisition: Set camera parameters (ISO, AV & TV) with live-view feedback.
Stabilization: Detect and compensate camera shake caused by e.g. low quality lenses.
Calibration: Calibrate the whole capturing system automatically without user intervention.
RAW data export: Generate and export raw point clouds (in PLY format) for each partially acquired scan.
Cleaning: Easily remove parts from the scans that you did not intend to scan (e.g. the ground plane).
Merging: Merge all partially acquired scans to a single point cloud.
Meshing: Compute a high resolution mesh of the object.
Simplification: Set the face count for the mesh.
Parameterization*: Compute an UV parameterization for the mesh.
Texturing*: Compute color, normal- and displacement maps as PNG, TIFF or JPG images.
Share via Sketchfab: Upload your 3D models to your Sketchfab account to share it or embed it into your website or facebook account.
Export: Export your 3D scan into a standard CAD file format as PLY or OBJ.
Go-Button: Determine all parameters automatically and perform the whole 3D reconstruction without any user-intervention.

* will require a paid subscription (included in your reward). 

Screenshots of 3Digify (user-interface subject to change)

Configure every single aspect of the pipeline or simply hit the "Go" button
Configure every single aspect of the pipeline or simply hit the "Go" button
Clean, modify and align the raw captured data
Clean, modify and align the raw captured data
Export your final reconstructed object as CAD file or directly upload to Sketchfab for sharing it online with your friends
Export your final reconstructed object as CAD file or directly upload to Sketchfab for sharing it online with your friends

Metric export: Export your 3D scans in a given metric (e.g. in millimeters or inches).
Update: Automatically update to the most recent version of 3Digify.

Most essential features have already been implemented. We will use the early access phase to additionally integrate usability features if requested by many backers (e.g. export to some special file format / 3rd party tool). 

With the help of the projector, 3Digify reconstructs 3D points per camera pixel. This means, that the reconstruction quality strongly depends on the camera resolution. As a rule of thumb, you can say that the higher the camera resolution, the more detailed the 3D scan. A further aspect to consider is the camera’s image quality. A low noise level yields significantly better color and slightly better geometry (geometry scanning can be configured to tolerate comparably high levels of image noise).

The projector also has an impact, but its resolution is significantly less important than the camera resolution. Low-res projectors tend to add more noise to the point clouds.

Results obtained by different camera setups (all using the same projector) (click to enlarge)
Results obtained by different camera setups (all using the same projector) (click to enlarge)
Raw scanner output (i.e. point clouds) aquired with webcams and high quality DSLRs respecively (Figure height: 15cm) (click to enlarge)
Raw scanner output (i.e. point clouds) aquired with webcams and high quality DSLRs respecively (Figure height: 15cm) (click to enlarge)

Video projectors: Any device that can be connected to the computer (e.g. via VGA, HDMI or DisplayPort).

Cameras:

  • Canon EOS series: EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 6D, EOS 7D, EOS 60D, EOS 50D, EOS 40D, EOS-1Ds Mark III, EOS-1D Mark III, EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS M, EOS 650D, EOS 600D, EOS 550D, EOS 500D, EOS 450D, EOS-1D X, EOS 60Da, EOS 700D, EOS 100D, EOS-1D C, EOS 70D, EOS 1100D, EOS 1200D, EOS 7D Mark II, EOS 5DS, EOS 5DS R, EOS 760D, EOS 750D, EOS M3).
  • Allied Vision Technologies GigE cameras: Mako series, Manta series, Prosilica series.
Turntable: Acquisition can be automated using a turntable instead of turning the object manually. The turntable will be provided as 3D-printable do-it-yourself kit and can easily be assembled. Required is a Raspberry Pi + compatible shield, a memory card, a stepper motor and a power supply. All necessary parts of the casing can easily be 3D-printed using the provided blueprints. We will provide a detailed instruction manual and the open source driver software. The turntable can be connected via LAN to your computer and is fully integrated into the capturing application for completely automatic acquisition.

Current turntable kit prototype (click to enlarge)
Current turntable kit prototype (click to enlarge)

Cameras:

During the early access phase of 3Digify we will extend support for the following devices:

  • Nikon DSLRs (June 2016): D3, D300, D300S, D3S, D3X, D4, D4S, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D5500, D600, D610, D700, D7000, D7100, D7200, D750, D800/D800E, D810, D810A, D90, Df, Nikon 1 V3, D40, D60, D200, D80.
  • Webcams (July 2016).

In theory, any camera that can be triggered remotely via a computer can be used with 3Digify. The capturing application just needs to know how to send the commands to the camera and how to download the acquired images via USB. Many off-the-shelf cameras and all computer vision cameras provide support for such functionality (consider e.g. this list of off-the-shelf cameras).

After early access release, we will continuously add support for further cameras. Because the capturing app will be released open source, support for specific cameras may also be integrated by the community, if necessary.

Operating system: Microsoft Windows (7, 8 or 10) 64 bit is required.
Processor: 1 GHz or up, multicore processing is supported.
Memory: At least 4 GB.
Graphics adapter: A modern nVidia / ATI graphics card is recommended but not mandatory.
Hard disk: At least 2GB of disk space.

A valid 3Digify account is also required.

In the 21st century it should neither be hard nor expensive to acquire 3D scans whose quality can compare to photos. Our vision is to make such technology available for everyone. The Kickstarter campaign is especially important to achieve this because it gives an assessment of the market potential and the general interest of the community in our product. If the funding succeeds, we will make basic geometry scanning free for everybody.

We will use your pledge to bridge the time still necessary for getting our solution market ready. To be more precise, you help us to realize the following goals by backing our campaign:

  • Allow us to offer basic geometry scanning for free!
  • Finalization of a novel, extremely powerful software-based 3D scanning toolkit.
  • Full revision of the capturing frontend to make it available open source. Extension of the list of out-of-the-box supported hardware (i.e. we will buy, integrate and test new cameras and projectors).
  • Finalization of our open source turntable (we developed two robust prototypes so far, which will be revised after several long time tests).

Project plan:

  • March 14th - April 13th 2016: Kickstarter Campaign
  • May 2016: Early access starts with support for Canon & AVT cameras and turntable blueprints
  • June 2016: Support for Nikon cameras
  • July 2016: Support for webcams
  • August 2016: Open source preview of the capturing frontend
  • October 2016: First official release of 3Digify
  • December 2016: Open source release of the capturing frontend

Scan with a single camera: 3Digify requires that the projected pattern is observed from two different viewpoints. This can most easily be assured by simply using two cameras. It is also possible to “simulate” a two camera setup using a single camera. This will require the user to position the camera to different locations during scanning (i.e. acquire from first camera position => acquire from second camera position => turn object => repeat) .

Scan with two different camera models: Scanning with two different camera models is possible in general. However, the final scan quality will be determined by the “weakest” camera. Using different camera models can also introduce artifacts in the scans (e.g. small waves on the object surface), because their sensors will respond differently to incident light. In general, the best quality can be assured if using the same model / lens for both cameras.

Scan a person: In theory everything can be 3D scanned using 3Digify as long as it is rigid during acquisition. Using high speed computer vision cameras, acquisition might take only a fraction of a second. We already scanned faces using off-the-shelf hardware. However, for a full 360° body scan, the person would need to turn and thereby not be rigid anymore. This could be avoided by using multiple acquisition “heads” distributed around the human from different directions.

Scan difficult materials: With the help of the projector, 3Digify can robustly acquire a large variety of different surfaces. As a rule of thumb, a surface can be reconstructed successfully if the projected pattern is clearly visible. This might not be the case for extremely transparent, reflecting or dark surfaces (note that *all* commercially available 3D scanners have problems acquiring such surface types).

Everyone in our team is extremely passionate about 3D scanning. We have the vision, the expertise and the endurance for realizing this fascinating project.

Currently, 3Digify Technologies consists of three persons that are working full-time on bringing this awesome technology to you. Our company has officially been founded in January 2016, but we have been working on the software over the past 5 years. The core technology has been developed by Johannes and Tobias after their studies in computer science and while pursuing their PhD degree in 3D Computer Vision. Bernd joined our team in 2015, he is a physicist and business economist and is also about to finish his PhD in 3D Computer Vision.

We know how to do software engineering but we also have a strong research background. During the past 6 years we have developed several novel 3D scanners and our research has been honored by a Google Research Award and an Autodesk Inc. best paper award. We are bubbling over with ideas of new exciting features we could bring to future versions of 3Digify.

You want to meet the team? You will find all three of us at CeBIT 2016 in Hannover, Germany. Visit us in Hall 6, Stand C17. We are looking forward to meet you there.

Risks and challenges

As with every new product development there are risks and challenges that we need to manage:

Team: The whole team has been doing research in the field of machine vision and 3D scanning for more than 6 years. This means we are experts in this field and are familiar with all potential problems related to 3D scanning.

Hardware compatibility: We will provide out-of-the-box support for many cameras. Most suppliers (e.g. Canon and Nikon) provide mature software development kits (SDKs) that we build on. We will additionally release the capturing application open source. If necessary, exotic hardware and special capturing solutions can be supported by the community in the future.

Early access: Shortly after this campaig, backers will get access to an early access version of 3Digify. While the software is already mature, it will still have remaining bugs waiting to be discovered and fixed. We currently plan early access to last for at least five months. If necessary we will extend it - backers will keep their early access priviledge until 3Digify has reached final production quality.

Our tool has already been used to digitize a large collection of 3D models successfully. We did not launch this campaign prematurely and are absolutely convinced that we can reach our goal with your help!

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Funding period

- (35 days)