Monday, December 19th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Polycam 3.0 released

The new cylindrical cropping option for 3D scan data in Polycam 3.0.

Polycam has released Polycam 3.0, the latest version of its 3D scanning app for Android, iOS and web.

The app turns new iPhone Pros and iPad Pros into low-cost LIDAR scanners, building up textured 3D scans of objects or environments in real time as the user walks around them.

A separate Photo Mode, available on both Android and iOS devices, and in the Polycam web app, uses photogrammetry to generate 3D models from images of real-world objects or terrain.

New features in version 3.0 include cylindrical cropping of scan data, a new rotate tool, and camera looping options for rendering presentation videos of scans.

A workable low-cost LIDAR scanner based on the sensor in current iPad Pros and iPhone Pros
First released in 2020, Polycam takes advantage of the LIDAR sensor in new iOS devices to build up full-colour textured 3D scans of the user’s surroundings.

The app is capable of room-scale scans, and the resulting geometry is “generally accurate down to about one inch”, with early adopters also praising the quality of the textures generated.

Once generated, 3D scans can be shared on Polyworld, Polycam’s Sketchfab-style online gallery, or exported to other DCC applications or game engines.

The free edition only exports in glTF format; the Pro edition exports a range of standard 3D file formats, including OBJ, FBX, Collada, STL, and point cloud formats including PLY, LAS and XYZ.

New photogrammetry-based Photo Mode, available in new Android and web editions
Since we last wrote about Polycam, the developers have also added Room Mode, which generates floor plans of interior spaces from scans, for export to software like AutoCAD in DXF, SVG or PNG format.

In addition, LIDAR scanning is no longer the only way to generate scan data, with a new photogrammetry-based Photo Mode generating textured 3D geometry from photos of objects or terrain.

Unlike LIDAR scanning, Photo Mode is available in the new Android edition of the app, although it’s limited to 180 lifetime captures in the free edition.

However, given the availability of good-quality, completely free mobile photogrammetry apps – like Epic Games’ newly released RealityScan – its main use case seems likely to the in the web edition of Polycam.

Polycam pitches Photo Mode in the web edition as an inexpensive way to generate 3D scans of terrain from aerial photography or drone images.

Polycam 3.0: better cropping of scan data, new camera looping option for recording videos of scans
New features in Polycam 3.0 include an overhaul of the tools for cropping scan data, with the 3D crop box now “much simpler to use”, and support introduced for cropping to a 3D cylinder.

The update also adds a new Rotate tool, automatic looping of camera paths when generating presentation videos of scans, and workflow improvements to camera controllers and the Ruler tool.

Pricing and system requirements
Polycam is available for Android, iOS 15.2+ and iPadOS 15.2+, and online.

Photo Mode works on Android devices, every iPhone and iPad from 2015 onwards, and online; LIDAR scanning requires an iOS device with a LIDAR sensor: an iPhone 12 Pro or later, or a 2020 iPad Pro or later.

The base edition is free, and includes unlimited LIDAR captures, but has a lifetime cap of 180 Photo Mode captures, and only exports to other DCC applications in glTF format.

The Pro edition now costs $7.99/month or $59.99/year, and unlocks the other export formats, the building plan tool, up to 150 Photo Mode captures per month, and use of Photo mode online.

Read more about Polycam for iOS on the App Store

Read more about Polycam for Android on the Google Play store