Issue: Volume: 25 Issue: 3 (March 2002)

Making Web Models with 3D ScanTop

The 3D ScanTop setup consists of software, lighting, and a turntable. The software controls a digital camera, which can be an Olympus, Agfa, Kodak, or other model, as well as the lights and turntable so that objects placed on the turntable are photographed at different angles, using parameters set beforehand by the user. Afterward, the software automatically removes the background and creates a 3D model from the image series. To make the model, rather than "stitching together" the photographs, as do most similar applications, ScanTop creates a wireframe model, then uses the original pictures to create a texture map over it. The resulting model can be exported to most major 3D file formats and then used in 3D modeling packages to create still or animated Web content.

Additional software features include registration of multiple scans, texture editing, and the integration of sounds, hyperlinks, animations, and other Web attributes.

The 3D Scantop software runs on Windows systems. The package, including lights and turntable, is available for $4995. (Olympus America; -JD