Laser Scanning Technology

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Reality capture is no longer the future of 3D conceptual modeling – it’s the present. This is good news for beginners and experts alike in the conceptual modeling, building, and renovation sphere, as 3D imaging technology is now more user-friendly and accessible than ever before.

Reality capture allows you to create 3D models of real-world objects that you can edit, annotate, and measure. By working with landscapes, construction sites, and designs in the virtual world before executing on them in reality, your projects become smoother, safer, and more efficient. Not to mention, companies see a huge ROI when applying these tools to their projects.


There are two main workflows used to create reality data:

  1. Photograph-based data requires you to take photographs of real-world scenes (usually for surveying landscapes or construction sites) to create reality data/ a virtual model. The industry term used to describe this process photogrammetry or the turning photos into point clouds.
  2. Laser-scan based data involves taking laser scans of a landscape or building and uploading them to reality computing software. This process is often used for renovation and construction projects.

Once you’ve captured photographs or laser scans of the object you want to model, Autodesk’s ReCap 360 Pro can automatically stitch the files together to create a high-resolution model such as a point cloud or a textured mesh. These models are optimized for use in other hero products by Autodesk, like AutoCAD, Revit, and Infraworks. If you’ve captured a landscape, you can create an orthographic view and add geographic points to your data to more accurately measure it. The benefits of this are far-reaching, including:

  • Collecting as-built data of a site
  • Avoiding costly rework requests by updating your client with visuals of your progress
  • More accurately measuring your building materials and assets on-site
  • Making sure assets arrive on-time and are delivered to the right location
  • Providing clients with updates throughout a project, so you can invoice at milestone markers rather than all at once at the end of a project

In the conceptual modeling sphere, reality capture allows you to design within the context of the surrounding landscape. For example, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, located just outside of Denver, Colorado, is flanked by natural rock face that would be impossible to document by hand. However, one team was able to capture the historic site through aerial imaging by attaching a GoPro to a drone and flying over the site. With the contextual landscape, they were able to document the landscape so it can now be monitored and preserved, and stage engineers have the ability to test sound and lights virtually before the show.


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