3D Scanning Terminology

Aug 27, 2022
Design & Build Services


At RPM Design and Prototype, we understand the importance of familiarizing yourself with the essential concepts and vocabulary related to 3D scanning. In this comprehensive guide, we provide you with an in-depth exploration of 3D scanning terminology. Whether you are a beginner or a professional in the field, this resource will help you better understand the intricacies of 3D scanning technology.

1. 3D Scanning

3D scanning is the process of capturing the physical appearance or shape of an object and creating a three-dimensional digital model. This technology utilizes various techniques such as laser scanning, structured light, or photogrammetry to gather data points that collectively form a digital representation of the object.

2. Point Cloud

A point cloud is a collection of individual data points in three-dimensional space. These points are obtained during the scanning process and represent the surface geometry of the scanned object. Point clouds serve as the foundation for creating accurate and detailed 3D models.

3. Laser Scanning

Laser scanning is a commonly used 3D scanning technique that utilizes laser beams to measure the distance to an object's surface. The laser scanner emits a laser beam that reflects off the object's surface, and the reflected light is measured to determine the distance. Laser scanning is highly accurate and capable of capturing intricate details.

4. Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry is the process of using photographs to obtain measurements, typically by analyzing the geometric properties of multiple images. In 3D scanning, photogrammetry involves capturing a series of photographs from different angles and using specialized software to reconstruct a 3D model based on the visual information contained in the images.

5. Resolution

Resolution refers to the level of detail that can be captured and represented in a 3D scan. It is determined by factors such as the scanning technique, hardware capabilities, and the distance between the scanner and the object. Higher resolution scans result in more accurate and detailed 3D models.

6. Mesh

A mesh is a three-dimensional representation of an object's surface that is composed of interconnected polygons or triangles. It is created from the point cloud data obtained during the scanning process. Meshes are widely used in various industries, including product design, engineering, and entertainment.

7. Texture Mapping

Texture mapping is the process of applying images or textures onto a 3D model's surface, giving it a realistic appearance. It involves mapping two-dimensional images onto the surface of the 3D model based on their UV coordinates. Texture mapping enhances the visual quality of the model and is often used in virtual reality applications and animations.

8. Accuracy

Accuracy refers to how closely the 3D scan represents the actual dimensions and shape of the scanned object. It is influenced by several factors, including the scanning technique, the sensor's accuracy, the stability of the scanning environment, and the level of post-processing performed on the captured data. Accurate 3D scans are crucial for applications such as reverse engineering and quality control.

9. Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is the process of capturing the geometry and specifications of an existing object and creating a digital model based on that data. 3D scanning plays a vital role in reverse engineering by providing a precise representation of the object, which can then be modified or replicated.

10. Quality Control

Quality control involves inspecting and verifying the accuracy and integrity of manufactured objects or parts. 3D scanning enables rigorous quality control processes by comparing the digitized 3D model of an object with its original design specifications. Deviations or defects can be easily identified, allowing for necessary adjustments to be made to ensure consistent quality.

11. Applications of 3D Scanning

3D scanning has a wide range of applications across various industries. Some notable applications include:

11.1 Product Design and Prototyping

3D scanning allows product designers and engineers to capture real-world objects and incorporate them into their designs. This technology enables efficient prototyping, as existing objects can be quickly and accurately replicated or modified.

11.2 Cultural Heritage Preservation

3D scanning plays a vital role in preserving cultural heritage by capturing detailed digital replicas of artifacts, sculptures, and archaeological sites. These digital representations can be used for historical documentation, restoration purposes, or educational exhibits.

11.3 Medical and Healthcare

In the medical field, 3D scanning is used for patient-specific anatomical modeling, prosthetics, orthotics, and surgical planning. It enables healthcare professionals to obtain accurate measurements and tailor treatments or devices to individual patients.

11.4 Entertainment, Gaming, and Virtual Reality

3D scanning technology is widely utilized in the entertainment industry for creating realistic 3D characters, environments, and special effects. It also enables the development of immersive virtual reality experiences and interactive gaming environments.

11.5 Architecture and Construction

Architects and construction professionals utilize 3D scanning to obtain precise measurements of existing structures or sites. The captured data can be used for renovation or expansion projects, clash detection, and creating as-built documentation.

11.6 Automotive and Aerospace

3D scanning aids in the design and manufacturing processes of vehicles and aircraft. It allows for accurate measurements and quality control throughout the production cycle, reducing errors and improving overall efficiency.


By delving into this comprehensive 3D scanning terminology guide, you have gained a deeper understanding of the essential concepts and vocabulary associated with this transformative technology. At RPM Design and Prototype, we strive to stay at the forefront of innovation, offering cutting-edge 3D scanning solutions to meet the unique needs of our clients. Whether you require reverse engineering, quality control, or any other application, our expertise in 3D scanning ensures accurate and reliable results. Contact us today to explore how 3D scanning can revolutionize your business.

Rod Furlan
👏 This guide is a must-read for anyone looking to decode 3D scanning lingo! 🙌
Nov 11, 2023
Nicholas Tolson
As a beginner in 3D scanning, I found this article immensely helpful. The terminology is now much clearer to me.
Nov 1, 2023
Vanessa Burnette
Great explanations and very informative. This guide makes it easy to grasp the various terms used in 3D scanning.
Oct 31, 2023
Rick Turner
I like how you've provided examples along with the definitions. It makes the concepts easier to understand.
Oct 25, 2023
I'm impressed by the depth at which you've covered the 3D scanning terminology. It's evident a lot of research went into this.
Oct 14, 2023
Jean Morain
Great resource for understanding 3D scanning terminology! Whether you're new to the field or a pro, this guide has got you covered. Highly recommended!
Oct 9, 2023
Manuel Garcia
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Oct 6, 2023
Bader Khan
I never knew there was so much to learn about 3D scanning terminology. This article has opened my eyes to the depth of the subject.
Oct 4, 2023
Steve Flagg
This comprehensive guide has been a great help. I particularly appreciate the real-world examples used to explain the terminology.
Sep 26, 2023
Rob Singleton
I've bookmarked this guide for future reference. It's a well-crafted resource for anyone wanting to dive into 3D scanning.
Sep 2, 2023
Gary Gause
The way you've organized the terminology and explanations makes it easy to follow. Kudos to the author!
Aug 29, 2023
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Aug 25, 2023
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Aug 20, 2023
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Aug 15, 2023
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Aug 14, 2023
Ally Mico
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Aug 8, 2023
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Jul 8, 2023
Mike Finnegan
It's evident a lot of thought and expertise went into creating this guide. Thank you for the insights into 3D scanning terminology.
Jul 3, 2023
Shedrack Ogwu
The guide is incredibly well-written and manages to cover a broad range of 3D scanning terminology. A job well done!
Jun 19, 2023
Carlina Boji
The article provides a clear and accurate overview of the terminology used in 3D scanning. Very helpful!
Jun 17, 2023
Muhammad Anwar
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Jun 12, 2023
Artem Petakov
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Jun 6, 2023
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May 26, 2023
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May 21, 2023
Mindy Czerw
Thank you for the detailed breakdown of 3D scanning terms. This will surely help me in my upcoming projects.
May 4, 2023
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Apr 30, 2023
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Apr 14, 2023
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Apr 4, 2023
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Mar 19, 2023
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Clear, concise, and well-structured. This article is a perfect place to start for anyone new to 3D scanning terminology.
Mar 12, 2023
Mytec Yang
Reading this has helped me understand the jargon I come across when working with 3D scanning technology. Thanks for the clarity!
Mar 4, 2023
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Feb 18, 2023
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Feb 16, 2023
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Feb 11, 2023
Rui Costa
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Jan 22, 2023
Edward Conlan
I never realized there were so many terms related to 3D scanning. This article is a fantastic exploration of the topic.
Jan 5, 2023
Barbara Hanes
This article deserves high praise for its comprehensive coverage of 3D scanning terminology. Thank you for the fantastic insights!
Jan 5, 2023
Kamisha Johnson-Davis
I appreciate the effort you've put into breaking down the terminology. It's very helpful to someone like me who's new to 3D scanning.
Jan 3, 2023
Jenee Butler
I love how you chose to explain the more complex terms in simple language. Makes learning much more accessible.
Dec 29, 2022
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Dec 19, 2022
Deana Lopez
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Dec 17, 2022
Doug Mitchell
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Dec 12, 2022
Charles Robbins
I found this guide extremely informative. It's excellent for beginners as well as those with some experience in 3D scanning.
Dec 7, 2022
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Dec 2, 2022
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Nov 25, 2022
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As someone new to 3D scanning, this piece has been illuminating. I now feel more confident in navigating the terminology.
Nov 24, 2022
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Nov 15, 2022
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Nov 11, 2022
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Oct 22, 2022
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Oct 15, 2022
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Oct 1, 2022
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Sep 29, 2022
Diamanta Pedraza
Interesting article! Thanks for explaining the terminology in a clear and concise manner.
Sep 27, 2022