Introduction: Autodesk Workshop Guide: Artec 3D Scanners

About: Gabrielle Patin reporting for duty.

This Instructable is for Workshop Users at Pier 9.

Requirements for using the Artec Scanners at Pier 9

  • Take General Workshop Safety Class.
  • Read through all the pages of this Instructable


This Instructable explains how to use the Artec Eva and Spider 3D scanners.

These scanners are capable of generating high quality 3D Scans and models. They work by projecting a pattern onto an object while capturing the data in real-time through photos. Afterwards, you use Artec Studios to run the data through registrations , and then perform a fusion to generate a 3D model.

Artec Eva:

This Scanner is used to create a quick, accurate and potentially large scan. This scanner is easier to use for most situations; large objects, people.

Artec Spider:

This Scanner is more sensitive and can be used to create high detailed scan. This scanner takes more technique and is less forgiving.

Artec Studios:

This program is used to scan an object, turn it into a model and clean the model up. It will need to be open for the scanners to capture data. It also has a powerful scan alignment feature and post processing options.

You can see more at the Artec3D Website.

Pier 9 Use:

The scanners are located in the upstairs locked photo closet. The Eva and Scanner computer (with Artec Studios) is in the large orange case. The Spider is stored in the smaller black case. You will need to take both boxes if using the Spider, so that you can use the scanner computer. The scanners must stay at the Pier and be put back in the closet by the end of the day.

Besides reading this Instructable, it is highly recommended that you ask Shop Staff for a demo.

Step 1: Artec Eva

Artec Eva:

This Scanner is used to create a quick, accurate and potentially large scan. This scanner is easier to use for most situations.

It has a higher frames per second and a larger Field of view than the spider(600 MM deph of field.). This means you can move faster and capture more data.

Controls: There is one button on the back of the Eva. Using your thumb, you can press the top of the button to Preview your scan(Get into position). Then, you can press the top of the button again to start your scan and capture data. Once you are finished, you can press the bottom of the button to stop your scan.

Cables: There is a small USB Port and a power cable input. Never remove the USB cable from the scanner as this can damage the USB port. Also, be careful where you set up your scanners and avoid any potential trip hazards, that could cause the scanner to fall to the ground.

Step 2: Artec Spider

Artec Spider:

This Scanner is more sensitive and can be used to create a small, high detailed scan. This scanner takes more technique and is less forgiving.

The spider has a small Field of view (170-300 mm) and less frames per second (1-8). This makes scanning more difficult. However, because the scanner is more sensitive, your models can turn out more detailed. This scanner also requires occasional calibration depending on your desired quality output.

Temperature: The optimal scanning temperature is between 40-70 degrees. This is displayed in the scanning tab of Artec Studios. Sometimes, you need to heat up the spider by turning it on preview mode and facing the scanner down onto a table.

Controls: There is one switch on the back of the Spider. Using your thumb, you can press the switch up to preview your scan (get into position). Then, you can press the switch up again to start your scan and capture data. Once you are finished, you can press down on the switch to stop your scan (stop capturing data).

Cables: There is a small USB Port and a power cable input. Never remove the USB cable from the scanner as this can damage the USB port. Also, be careful where you set up your scanners and avoid any potential trip hazards, that could cause the scanner to fall to the ground.

Calibrating: Sometimes when trying to generate really precise scans with the Spider, you need to go through a calibration procedure.

Step 3: Artec Studio

Artec Studio

Artec Studio is the program that you use to capture your scans and build your model.

Below are 10 steps that outline the general workflow for generating a mesh.

1. Set up your Computer and connect the 3D scanner.

2. Set up your model and any other helpful tools such as a turn table.

3. Open Artec Studios and click on the Scan Tab to capture your scans.

4. Click on the editor tab and erase any unwanted parts of your scan. Reposition the scans if you want to align multiple scans.

5. To Align multiple scans : Click the Align tab, choose three common points and align your scans.

6. In the Tool Tab, under Registration, run Global Registration.

7. In the Tool Tab, under Fusion, run a Fusion to generate a mesh. (Smooth or Sharp are best)

8. Now you can begin your post processing. In tools> Post-processing> small objects filter will delete small objects.

9. In the Edges tab, you can see all the holes in your model and heal them.

10. You can export your Mesh by clicking File > Export Mesh.

Step 4: Scanning/ Scan Tab

Scan Tab

Enter this tab to scan an object. The left side has options to edit your scan and the way you capture the data. On the right side is a list of your previous scans. You can click on the individual scan to see all of the pictures that make up that capture.

To scan, connect the scanner to the computer.

1. Preview Mode: Enter preview mode by either clicking up on the back of the scanner or pressing the preview button in the scan tab. This will allow you to get in the correct position and determine how the scanner will read the material of your model.

2. Scan Mode: Once you are ready to record data, press up again to record your scan. The Scan will generate a quick model of what you are capturing, live, on the spot.

3. End Scan: To end your Scan, pres down on the back of the scanner.

Left Side Options

Geometry + Texture: Scan will actively show Shape and Color.

Geometry: Just Polygons (It still captures color and gemoetry however, it only displays the geometry in the live model)

Targets: Picks up an x or black and white circle on your object.

Scanning speed: You can change the amount of Frames per second.

Depth of Field: This is much area we want to capture. -Default settings are good for most scans.

Texture Brightness: for color, increase brightness select beforehand.

Advanced Options : located under left side option

Don’t record texture : This will disable the flash bulb used for capturing color. This was added for people whose eyes are too sensitive for the flash when you are scanning a face.

Sensitivity slider : If you trying to scan something difficult to scan, i.e. shiny, black and hair. You can increase the sensitivity so the scanner will take in more information. This increased data collected will add more points for artec studio to create better geometry later on.

Use : This will tell you which Scanner is being used.

Right Side Scan Data :

On the right side of the screen there is a window that will show all the scans you have taken. You can click on the eye to the left of the scan to show/hide the scan.

You can also double click on a scan to show all of the images that make up the scan. Bold Images represent a major change in geometry. Images with a T at the end at the Texture images used to apply color to your model.

If you have taken a large number of photos, you can delete duplicates or unnecessary sections by highlighting the photos and right click> delete. This will save you time when processing the model later.

Step 5: Scanning Techniques

Using the Eva and Spider Scanners requires patience, technique and trial and error.

Get the Scan Right! Don't feel bad to throw away a scan and try again. Getting a better scan will make your life much easier down the road.

Should I capture one full scan or align a few separate scans? To capture a full 3d Model you can either circle around the model and try and capture the whole thing. Or you can capture different sides and stitch them together in the align tab. If you go down the alignment route, make sure you get enough common geometry in the different side scans to find three points of common geometry.

If your model has a top and bottom or an area you can't reach in one scan, you will probably want to use the Align Scan technique.

Technique : When you scan, there will be a green bar on the screen. It will have 3 zones in different levels of green. This represents your Depth of Field. You want the data (Shown by the blue bars) to be in the center of your Depth of Field.

It is a good idea to be watching the screen and this green bar when scanning. You want to adjust the distance between the Object and the scanner so that your data can stay in the center of the green distance bar. I tend to spend the majority of my time scaning watching the live generation and green bar.

Challenging Materials: Black, shiny and translucent objects can be difficult to scan.

Sometimes you can overcome this by increasing the sensitivity and/or painting, taping, or applying a powder (baking soda, baby powder) to the object to help the scanner see it.

360 Scan: Sometimes it can be difficult to get a full 3d Scan of a model. Using a swivel stool or lazy Susan can help. Also, having a second person to Turn the stand as you scan, can be useful as well. I have also hung objects from the ceiling to get the sides and bottom. Using Fishing wire may cause the scanner to only pick up the model.

Step 6: Editor Tab

Editor Tab

These features can be used on either a scan or mesh.

Transform : Translate will allow you to move the model in space. You can also scale and rotate the model. This is useful to prepare different scans to be aligned. You can either input the amount to move by axis. Or by dragging the Blue, Green, Red arrows. Note that you have to have the scan visible to use a feature. You can do this by clicking the white space next to the scan, so that the eye appears. Make sure to hit apply to save changes.


This will allow you to delete unwanted parts of a scan or model. Once you choose Erase, there is information (Show in the picture above) that details how to select and deselect regions. You can select by 2d (Scans), 3D (Model), Rectangular, cutoff plane selection. Make sure to hit Erase to save changes.

Step 7: Tool Tab

This is the most important Tab for building your Model. There are three categories of options in this tab, Registration, Fusion, Post-processing. Next to each option, there is an arrow which will open up more specifications for that command.

Registration: Artec Studios uses complex formulas to prepare the scan data and point cloud, to turn into a 3D model. These actions are referred to as registrations. There are a number of different registrations, each occur at different times, during the model building process.

The First registration occurs during the scan. The next one will occur when you leave the scan tab. You can tell a registration is happening at the bottom of the screen. A green loading bar will appear and it will tell you how far through the registration you are.

Rough Serial Registration: This is a quickest Registration.

Fine Serial Registration: System finds best position to place pictures and build model. This occurs right after you leave the scanning tab, and enter another tab.

Global Registration: This is the final optimization of scan data. Global Registration uses all available data and is the last thing you do before fusion(converting the scan to a mesh 3D model). If you need to align multiple scans, do this before you perform the Global Registration. This can take some time if your scans are large. There are four stages, the second takes the longest. So be patient and let your computer Crunch away. It is a good idea to save your scans before this step.

Fusion: This will convert your data into a 3D Mesh. It will keep your scans but generate a new object called a fusion. You will then be working with a mesh made up of a bunch of triangles that are connected by points from your previous point cloud. This may still have holes that need cleaning up in the edge tab, and other post-processing related work.

Outliers Removal: This will remove some of the extra floating parts around your model.

Fast Fusion: This is the quickest fusion and least accurate.

Smooth Fusion: This is good if your model has smooth, curving features such as a face. This will help recreate missing shapes.

Sharp Fusion: This is good for models with sharp edges: motherboards and mechanical pieces.

Resolution: Effects the number of the polygons, 1 is very small, 10 is veyr big. 1 is better.

This controls the polygons on a model. Different than the raw data polygon model (That exists before fusion).

Post-processing: Once you have converted to a mesh 3D model by performing a fusion, you can further edit the model using these tools.

Small Objects Filter: This removes disconnected parts.

Hole Filling: This will quickly fill some holes. There are more advanced hole filling tools in the edges tab.

Mesh Simplifications: Especially good for big models. Such as scans of people, cars ect. This will lowers the amount of polygons that make up your model, making it easier to export and work with in other programs.

Error: The distance between any points. Error = .05 This means that the dots that make up one triangle on your mesh will all be further apart than .05 mm.

Step 8: Align Tab


If you are using the align feature to build your model. You will need to make sure all the scans you wish to align are visible. Then enter the alignment tab.

First try the “I'm feeling lucky button”. Not joking, they have a button, it's nice when it actually works.

If this doesn’t work, then you will have to do it manually.

Step 1: Make sure two of the scans are shown and selected. The models will need to share some common Geometry. If you were trying to connect a head to a torso, you would need to have common points to reference like the neck or Shoulder.

Step 2: Click New Pair and click on a point on scan 1. Then click on the corresponding point on scan two. A line will connect the two scans. Repeat this at least two more times. It is good to have at least 3 common points to merge the two scans.

Step 3: Once your points are selected, click Align Meshes. It will align the meshes and perform another registration to make sure all the frames from the two scans work well together. You can do this again to add/align as many scans as you like.

After this, you can return to the tools menu and run the Global Registration.

Step 9: Edges Tab


This will allow you to fill holes in your model.

After running fusion and generating a 3D mesh model. Enter the Edges tab. On the left hand will be a list of all the holes in your model. You can click on each one to zoom into where the hole is.

To fill all the holes, Select all. Then choose fill holes. The holes will be filled.

If you chose smooth holes after filling, then they will have a smoother more organic look to them.

Step 10: Export


Mesh: Bam, your ready to Export your Mesh! You can send this to another mesh editor/ 3D CAD program like Meshmixer or mudbox. Or if you have cleaned up the holes you can send it straight to the 3D printer or CNC machine. Boom have fun.

Go to File > Export Mesh.

Select extension .stl, .obj, .wrl Just the model: .STL Color Files: .Ply, .Wrl, .VRL, .OBJ, .XYZRGB.

Scans: You can also Export the Scans File > Export Scans.

Then you can use your own program to generate your model.

Color Files:

You can export the actual texture files and work on each one in photoshop. Then reload them and apply them again to the model.

I will be adding the 3D model of the cosmonaut glove once the Artist in Resident project related to it is finished. Stay tuned!:)