In this instructable I'm going to walk you through creating a Catch using the 123D Catch web app. 123D Catch is a totally free piece of the software that turns photos into 3D models.

It's available (as of right now) for PC, on iPad and also as a web app, which is what I use!

To see what other people have made using Catch, please check out the 123D Gallery - tons of amazing stuff on there. The portraits and buildings are especially neat! It might give you some inspiration to make your own Catch!

Step 1: Go out and take some photos!

The most important part of your project. I recommend starting with smaller objects around your house to get a feel for the software!

Here are some tips for getting good photos:
  • shoot in consistent lighting - a cloudy day is better than a sunny one, make sure if you're working indoors that the lights you're using aren't producing glare
  • avoid reflective, highly glossy or shiny surfaces - they will not render correctly. You'll end up with holes in the model or entire sides will be missing!
  • make sure your photos are in focus
  • plan the shoot ahead of time and make sure that you are able to take photos all around the object
  • the number of photos you take it up to you. I have taken everywhere from 15 to 40. Just make sure they're evenly spaced around the object! For a big (a few feet tall or more) object, I walk in a circle around it and I take a photo every two steps.
  • make sure the object is the main focus of the photo - keep it in the middle and make sure all of it is in the photo. Only having half the object in the photo or including a photo where it's off the the side and something else is more in focus can cause rendering problems!
Here's a video that will explain the process a bit better, and will hopefully answer any questions you've got! If not, leave a comment and I'll try to help you out. :D

This is highly detailed and I am adding it to my favorites. :)
I tried using this as a web app about a year ago. At the time, it wasn't "totally free" in that to export your model to anything other than their proprietary format, they charged a fee. Has that changed?
Ah, I didn't know there was ever a charge! As of right now, you can download the stl and mesh package files for free in the web app and in the iPad app.
Thanks Jessy! I have been pondering this.
Wow! The developers at my work have been playing with some alleged "3D scanner" apps trying to find one that worked even remotely well. This is streets ahead of anything that we've seen so far- I'm almost certainly going to start including these scans of my finished projects on future Instructables.
Great detail Jessy. This will come in handy to those in the challenge who are still having trouble.

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Bio: Part of the Instructables Design Studio, former Contest Manager! I like embroidering, dancing, eating, jrpgs and inexplicably cute animals. // follow me for even more tutorials ... More »
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