While 3D scanning a plain white, shiny ceramic bowl may not sound particularly impressive to most people, any scanning specialist will tell you it is one of the most challenging objects there is, often dubbed “unscannable”. 3D scanning uniform objects can be incredibly challenging, especially when using photogrammetry. This article explores the difficulties involved and how our innovative solution has overcome them.

Understanding the Challenge

Photogrammetry relies on 2-dimensional photographs to create 3-dimensional models. The process involves identifying distinctive features, or “reference points” in each photograph and determining their positions in a 3-dimensional space. The accuracy of the model depends on the frequency and variety of these reference points across different images.

The texture of the 3D model also then depends on the color information from the photographs to ensure a realistic look. Detailed and colorful images provide more clues for the software, enhancing the model’s accuracy.

Key Challenges with White Ceramic Bowls

  1. Lack of Surface Detail: Smooth and featureless ceramic surfaces make it difficult for photogrammetry software to identify distinct points and match them across multiple images.
  2. Uniform Color: The monochromatic nature of white ceramics offers little variation in color and contrast for the software to use as reference points.
  3. Light Reflection: White surfaces reflect a lot of light, causing overexposure in photographs and creating glare or hotspots, interfering with the software’s ability to detect surface features accurately.
  4. Specular Highlights: Glossy ceramic surfaces produce specular highlights that change position with movement, leading to inconsistencies in feature detection.
  5. Light Scattering: White surfaces scatter light diffusely, making it difficult for photogrammetry software to discern fine details. This scattering effect can blur edges and obscure features, complicating the 3D reconstruction process.

Previous Solutions and Their Limitations

Various approaches have been attempted to overcome these problems, including multiple scan runs with and without matting spray, polarized light, or a combination of different scanning methods. These methods are time-consuming, require extensive manual work and specialist knowledge, and are not always reproducibly successful. Reliable automation for professional or industrial use has been considered impossible until now.

Our Solution

We are proud to announce that our Innovation Lab has solved these problems and, with the help of our software development and construction specialists, transformed them into a robust product that can reliably digitize such objects within minutes.

How It Works

  • Place the Object: Position the object inside our scanner, either the 3D OBJECT scanner or 3D STUDIO scanner.
  • Select the Preset: Choose the preset for light and shiny objects and hit the “Scan” button.
  • Wait and Enjoy: Wait a few minutes for the fully automated scan and reconstruction process to complete. Enjoy your raw model!

Sounds almost too simple, doesn’t it? But of course it isn’t. And the experts among you will certainly want to know more about what exactly we are doing.

The pivot point is a transparent turntable that prevents the object from flipping or repositioning, which avoids potential errors, especially with non-dimensionally stable objects, and of course also halves the scanning time.

To minimize distracting reflections and highlights, we use polarized light in combination with cross-polarized filters on the camera lenses.

And here’s the resulting raw model that our scanner produced (raw in terms of no post production involved):


By leveraging our accumulated expertise and a finely orchestrated workflow, including a completely transparent turntable, polarized light, and our “digital spray,” we have made reliable 3D scanning of white ceramic bowls a reality.

Challenge Us

Don’t believe it works? Arrange a test scan and see the results for yourself!