Friday, June 2nd, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Polycam gets new AI-based 360 Capture system

Polycam has added a new 360 Capture feature to Polycam, its 3D scanning app for Android, iOS and web.

The AI-based feature makes it possible to capture spherical 360-degree images on devices without 360-degree cameras, for use as environments in DCC software or game engines.

The toolset, which is based on generative AI model Stable Diffusion, was rolled out in the iOS edition of the app earlier this week in the Polycam 3.2.1 update.

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’s Room Mode generates floor plans of interior spaces from scans, and its photogrammetry-based Photo Mode generates textured 3D geometry from photos of objects or terrain.

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 AI-based 360 Capture system generates 360-degree environments on standard phones
To that, Polycam has added 360 Capture, a new toolset for capturing 360-degree images on mobile devices without built-in 360-degree cameras.

Users rotate their phone in the same way they would to capture a panoramic image, with the app automatically filling in the top and bottom of the spherical environment.

The missing poles of the environment are generated using Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion AI model.

As well as being used as a background for 3D captures, the resulting 360-degree image can be used as an environment within DCC software or game engines – the launch video namechecks Blender, Cinema 4D, Unity and Unreal Engine – although it isn’t an HDR image, limiting its use for environment lighting.

Available to try for free, though output is watermarked unless you have a Pro subscription
The new feature is available in the free base edition of the app, although output is watermarked, so you will need a paid Pro subscription to export a clean image.

Polycam’s announcement only mentions 360 Capture being available on iPhones, so we’ve contacted the firm to see when it will be available in the Android edition, and will update if we hear back.

Updated 5 June 2023: Polycam told us that it plans to add 360 Capture to the Android edition of the app “before the end of the year”.

Since the last time we covered Polycam, on the release of Polycam 3.0 last December, the price of Pro subscriptions has risen from $7.99/month to $14.99/month, and from $59.99/year to $79.99/year.

Pricing and system requirements
Polycam is available for Android 8.0+, iOS 15.2+ and iPadOS 15.2+, and online.

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 $14.99/month or $79.99/year, and unlocks the other export formats, the building plan tool, unlimited Photo Mode captures, 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