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3D body scan complete manual


   From custom prostheses to perfectly fitting clothing, 3D printed figurines to realistic characters, 3D body scanners have become an important tool for exploring the mysteries of the human body. Through this article, we will introduce different types of human body 3D scanners, the main difficulties of human body capture, and their applications in the medical, sports, apparel, and entertainment industries.


  Handheld, fixed

  Application scenarios

  Medical, sports fitness, fashion, VR, video games, movies, 3D statues

  Price range

  $500 – $40000


The emergence of   3D scanning technology has brought new possibilities for many industries. 3D body scanners have become an increasingly popular type of scanner in medical, fitness, clothing, 3D portrait printing, entertainment and other fields.

  This type of scanner is specially designed for fast and accurate human body three-dimensional capture and body shape, proportion, and size data capture, which is faster and easier than traditional manual methods. 3D body scanning technology began to appear in the 1980s to meet the growing demand for garment production in the apparel industry. Today, these technologies are widely used in sports, medical and other fields, and can quickly and accurately collect qualitative and quantitative information on human body changes.

   Let’s take a look at the working principles of different 3D body scanners and introduce in detail the various tasks they are capable of.

The working principle of   3D body scanner

  3D human body scanner, as the name suggests, is a scanner that digitally captures the entire human body or parts of the human body such as arms, legs, ears, head, etc. It is constructed by taking thousands of human snapshots and stitching them into a point cloud. 3D model.

   Whole body scanner, also known as 3D scanning kiosk or scanning mirror, can capture the human body from head to toe, while handheld 3D scanners can capture both the whole body and individual parts. In addition to the hardware that captures the human body, there is also 3D processing software to analyze raw data and extract measurement details.

  3D body scanner is developed based on structured light technology, laser linear triangulation ranging, photogrammetry and other technologies. In addition, there are also mobile applications that can use smartphone cameras, computer imaging technology, machine learning algorithms, and create realistic 3D images based on people's photos.

  After understanding these, we can divide the existing 3D body scanners into three categories:

  A. 3D scanning kiosk and home body scanner

  3D human body scanning kiosk is a static cabin or small kiosk, usually equipped with scanners, sensors or digital SLR cameras (or all three) around the interior to ensure that the human body is captured at all angles. One or more models stand in the center of the pavilion and maintain a posture, while the scanner is in the background to make various preparations and run the system.

Scan kiosk example

   Depending on the software and hardware installed in the kiosk, the entire process may only take a few seconds, which is convenient for the scanned object to maintain the same posture without moving or blinking. The finished product scanned in the kiosk is a full-color 3D model, which can be printed with materials such as sandstone from a 3D printing shop.

Examples of   3D human capture systems also include 3D scanning mirrors, 3D fitting rooms, and home scanning toolboxes. This type of equipment often uses a number of 3D imaging technologies; these technologies are integrated on a mirror or bracket, which can rotate around the human body standing on a platform (or a scale). Some equipment is designed with a rotating platform that allows the human body to be 360 ​​degrees. While rotating, a stationary scanner takes a 3D snapshot of the human body.

  The finished product of this type of scanner is not only a human body model (often without texture), but a series of 3D measurement data and parameters extracted by this 3D scanner. Usually, this type of system is used in the field of sports and fitness to record body shape changes during fitness and diet classes. It is also used for clothing brands to capture the size of the human body to customize personalized personal clothing.

  B. Handheld 3D body scanner

   This type of human body 3D scanner has been on the market for a long time. Unlike the 3D scanning kiosk used to capture the whole body, these scanners can be used for the delicate capture of individual body parts or limbs. This type of device is more flexible and more portable, and can scan around the scanned object with the handheld device. The effect is also more accurate than that of scanning kiosks.

The clinician uses a handheld scanner to scan the ears of young patients.

(Source: https://www.artec3d.com/cases/prosthetic-3d-printed-ear-implants)

  After the scan is completed, the finished 3D model with color or without texture is usually exported to professional 3D software for further processing, for example, customized prosthetics, orthopedics, jewelry or glasses and other personalized accessories.

  C. Mobile body scanning application

   This type of application uses smartphone cameras, 3D sensors integrated into smartphones and tablets, and AI algorithms to obtain anthropometric data based on several photos. The target customers of this type of application are usually end users who cannot obtain high-end body scanners, providing them with key indicators to monitor body shape, or optimizing the online shopping experience, and choosing suitable clothing for themselves.

Application of   3D body scanner

  3D body scanner can be used in a series of application scenarios, from making 3D printed statues to collecting human body data, bringing new opportunities for technological development in the fields of medicine, nutrition, and fashion. Below, we come to understand a few popular applications and related industries.

  3D printed sculpture and 3D selfie 

One type of application of   3D scanners in life is to make human models for 3D printing. Now, people no longer need to go to local photo studios or automatic photo booths to take family portraits. However, we can make 3D sculptures for ourselves or our family in 3D scanning kiosks in shopping centers around the world, or we can go to a professional 3D scanning/printing agency for 3D scanning.

3D sculpture of a man and a dog

  3D sculptures, 3D portraits or 3D selfies are a brand new way to remember moments of life. Making 3D scans for yourself is fast and convenient, just like taking photos with a smartphone. After a few days, you will receive the 3D sculptures, which can be placed on the table or sent to friends and family as gifts. A wonderful application case is probably the Dutch company Bellyprint, which uses Artec Eva to make body scans and 3D sculptures for pregnant women in the third trimester.


  In fitness clubs, gyms, athletes, personal trainers, and customer groups, another increasingly popular application scenario is the tracking of body shape changes to achieve fitness or diet goals, such as gaining muscle and reducing fat.

Use the body scanner to complete the athlete scan. (Source: https://www.artec3d.com/cases/vorteq-fastest-cycling-skinsuits)

   This type of 3D scanner can not only complete the 3D capture of the human body, but also analyze the captured data to extract numerical information including waist circumference, hip circumference, body shape, posture, weight and so on. In addition, they can also provide interactive reports of body changes over a period of time, allowing users to intuitively track the effects of their fitness programs.

  This type of device usually does not capture the color and texture of the human body, and basically only focuses on the body shape and changes over a period of time.


  The clothing industry began to take shape measurements long before the advent of 3D scanners. Until the early 20th century, clothing was basically customized by professional tailors based on the client's own figure. During the war, a unified ready-to-wear size system appeared, which is still widely used today. Although this has made great progress in the apparel industry, it was not ideal either then or now. People have different body shapes, and standard sizes can't fit everyone. Although our wardrobe is still mainly for mass consumption, 3D human body capture technology is quietly changing this trend.

Virtual fitting

  Apparel brands are beginning to use 3D scanners to provide customized services to customers. They don’t want to use traditional time-consuming manual measurement methods. It is no longer popular for tailors to circle the customer with a tape measure. It only takes a few seconds to capture the precise value and use it to make personal clothing.

  Some brands have also installed 3D scanners in the fitting room of the store, allowing customers to quickly try on clothes, try different colors, and match different accessories—— all of this does not need to leave the fitting room, nor do you need to put on or take off your clothes. It can be achieved. Other brands also provide virtual fitting rooms in online stores to assist customers in choosing suitable garments and fitting them without leaving the house. Customers can also upload their own 3D images and clothes to try on to see if they fit.

   Globally, some countries are using 3D scanning technology to conduct nationwide anthropometric surveys and collect 3D body scanning data to improve the size system. Some brands have already begun to do this.


  Medical is another big area where 3D body scanners show their talents, improving the accurate measurement and visualization of size, shape, posture, and skin surface. Medical workers, like professional tailors, used to manually measure size and shape, assess health conditions, and provide corresponding treatment.

3D scan the patient’s body

   Thanks to the emergence of 3D body scanning technology, doctors and clinicians can now complete the automatic measurement of hundreds of human body values ​​in just a few seconds. Subsequently, these data (independently or in combination with X-ray, MRI, ultrasound or CT scan and other partial interventional data obtained) are used in the following ways:

  ● Custom-fit prosthetic or orthopedic devices for individuals

  ● Assess skin conditions, including wrinkles, pigmentation, melanoma, etc., find early tumors, lung function problems, and burn treatment

  ● Monitoring and analyzing pregnant women's body size, physical changes and physical reactions, planning special treatment plans (such as obesity, hormones), diet plans and exercise plans

  ● Calculation of medication, radiotherapy, chemotherapy metering

  ● Simulate and visually present the effects of plastic surgery, etc.

  Entertainment (games, movies, special effects)

The realistic full-body model captured by the   3D scanner is also widely used in many modern video games, action movies, VR and AR applications. Film and television studios have been using 3D body scanners to capture the actors' bodies and make so-called "digital doubles" for use in visual special effects and 3D animation. For the same reason, video game developers will scan famous actors so that they can design new characters by scanning the images of actors without having to design from scratch.

Scan Schwarzenegger for the movie "Terminator: Genisys". (Source: Legacy Effects)

  Some video game developers even went a step further, allowing players to use selfies to create personalized 3D images to participate in the game, instead of using pre-made images. In many VR and AR application scenarios, users are also allowed to upload personalized 3D images, which can be used in video conferences or games.

  Scanning difficulties

  Whether you plan to start a 3D sculpture printing company, or purchase a 3D scanner for hospitals, orthopedic clinics, clothing stores, gyms, film and television or game studios, there are some difficulties in scanning, you need to pay attention when scanning the human body:

  1.    Movement of the face and human body when using a handheld 3D scanner

   As mentioned earlier, using a handheld scanner to capture a human body may be more time-consuming than a 3D scanning kiosk. Therefore, when you walk around the scanned object, they may move or blink without paying attention. To avoid this problem, you can arrange your standing position in advance. The human body scan may take 4-5 minutes (if you are new to 3D body scan, it may take longer), so make sure that the model chooses a comfortable and stable posture and try to keep it as still as possible. If you cannot scan again under certain circumstances, software solutions such as Artec Studio can easily repair the blemishes caused by the movement of the human body.

  It is also important that the performance of the scanner is good enough to complete the task quickly. Artec handheld scanner has a wide capture range, and with high frame rate FPS, it can complete human body scanning faster than small-range, low-speed devices.

   Another difficulty is blinking, yawning, and facial expression changes during face scanning. Therefore, for our own 3D scanner Eva or Leo, we recommend scanning the face first, and then scanning other parts, or you can capture the head and body separately. Facial scanning is very fast, usually only 5-7 seconds—just enough for a person to hold his eyes without blinking. Another tip to avoid blinking is to ask the scanned subject to choose a point in front (a little higher than the eye level, avoid looking directly at the flash) and look at this point when scanning the face.

   If the scanned object is as tall as you, or slightly higher than you, another good way is to scan the face and head separately. In this case, it is difficult to capture the head, so ask the model to sit down.

Use Artec Eva to scan the 44th President Obama to make the first 3D portrait of the president.

   Although it is difficult to eliminate movement and blinking, the use of professional handheld 3D solutions Artec Eva or Artec Leo can still greatly reduce the scanning time because they can quickly capture the entire human body.

  2.    Scan small and difficult body parts such as fingers, ears, armpits, hair, etc.

   For most 3D scanners and human body scanning devices, another common difficulty lies in the small and difficult to reach human body parts, including fingers, armpits, legs, hair and ears. The following are the techniques Artec summarized after completing thousands of human body scans using 3D equipment:

  Hand Scan

   We know that if you don’t have the patience of a monk and a yoga teacher, it’s difficult to keep your hands in one place for a few minutes without moving. Therefore, to avoid any movement, we recommend that the scanned subject place his hands close to or close to the body. For example, they can put their hands on their waists or cross their arms on their chests. If you need to capture the details of your fingers and hands, we recommend scanning this part first, and then scanning other parts to ensure good results. In some cases, the scanned object needs to maintain the T or A posture to facilitate the acquisition of upper body measurements, or use the 3D model for animation.

  If your arms are on your hips, please take more time to scan the inside of your elbows and armpits. For Artec scanners such as Eva or Leo, we recommend placing the device very close to the front and back to capture as much data as possible. Incomplete scans may result in dark textures and poor results.

  Leg scan

  The legs are usually easy to scan because they don’t move much, but there are some precautions. Make sure that the scanned subject is standing on a textured floor, such as a colored mat or carpet, to assist in tracking. Ensure that both legs are within the viewing angle of the scanner to increase the viewing area.

The football player is undergoing a color 3D scan of his leg. (Source: https://www.artec3d.com/cases/fc-bayern-munich-defender-david-alaba-3d-scanned-trophy)

   In order to make the scanning smooth, we recommend that each time you move the scanning position, aim the device at the textured floor or the feet of the scanned subject.

   Also, don’t forget to scan the inside of each leg. For convenience, you can place one foot forward on the scanned object before the start of the scan. By doing this, you can try to avoid mixing the area between the legs, which is another common problem in body scans.

  Hair Scan

  For human body scanners, hair is also a difficult "surface" because the hair is slender and may be messy or uneven.

  Straight hair is often easier to operate. If you use Artec 3D scanner, you can scan directly without any preparation. Conversely, curly or heavy hair, multi-layered or explosive hairstyles are difficult to scan and require some treatment first.

   When scanning hair, there are some simple rules to keep in mind. At Artec, we recommend smoothing your hair before scanning. In this way, the scanner pattern can be more accurately projected onto the surface of the scanned object, bringing better results. If the shape of the hairstyle is really difficult to scan, you can also flatten it or get the hair wet.

   Regardless of the hair color, the Artec scanner can capture it well. To ensure stable tracking, we recommend that you always keep your shoulders within the perspective of the scanner when capturing.

  Before scanning long hair, you can place the hair in a relatively concentrated position on the back to avoid messy hairstyles. Some hairstyles may be difficult to scan from any angle. In this case, we recommend that you extend the scanning time to allow the device to capture enough necessary surfaces, which can be used to reshape the hairstyle.

  When capturing complex hairstyles, we also recommend increasing the sensitivity of the scanner to make it easier to identify and capture the surface of the hair. Thanks to the new "Smart Sensitivity" (Smart Sensitivity) function added in Artec Studio 12, hair capture has become easier.

  3.    Scan reflective, black or transparent surfaces such as hair accessories, jewelry, glasses, leather products, etc.

   For almost all scanners, transparent, reflective or black surfaces are known to be difficult to scan. The reflective surface will reflect the pattern of the scanner, while the black surface absorbs the light of the scanner, which makes scanning difficult, and the device cannot distinguish the pattern of the object. By the same token, because the light from the scanner directly penetrates the object, there is no basis for reflection, so transparent objects are also difficult to scan. However, this is fearless for Artec scanners, because they are better at capturing such surfaces than other body scanners.

   However, to ensure uniform and stable results, we do not recommend any translucent, black, or shiny materials, such as leather, fur or sequins, and glasses or jewelry objects (which can also be removed before scanning). If it cannot be removed, use matting spray or talcum powder on the shiny surface. When using Artec scanner, you can also activate the scanning settings in Artec Studio software, with some scanning techniques (such as scanning angle less than 90 degrees), can help you capture these difficult surfaces.

   If you scan with Artec Eva, after the scan is over, we recommend that you keep the scanned object still for a few seconds to check for holes or missing surfaces. If there is a large area of ​​missing, scan it immediately, don't wait to let the scanned object return to the previous scanning posture —— it will definitely not be exactly the same, it will only lead to a long processing time. If you use Artec Leo to scan, these are not needed, as long as you view the data on the touch screen in real time during the scan.

  Artec 3D body scanner

   If you need to scan the human body and use it for 3D printing, human body information extraction, and visual special effects, Artec 3D has several 3D scanners and scanning systems to choose from:


  Artec Eva is a handheld structured light 3D scanner that has proven itself in scanning projects of various objects, including medium-sized industrial products, furniture, statues and monuments, human bodies and human body parts. Thanks to its scanning performance and safe structured light technology, Eva can capture the whole body like an independent body part, with high accuracy and resolution

Scan the human body with Artec Eva

  The equipment has a wide range of applications, including custom orthopedic equipment, prosthetics, wheelchair cushions, plastic surgery, 3D printed portraits, etc. Eva can be used for full-color scanning and printing of the human body, and was also used to make the first 3D portrait of President Obama.

  Eva Lite

  Eva Lite is a lightweight version of Eva; this scanner has the same accuracy specifications, but does not collect texture data during scanning. Therefore, the amount of captured data is significantly less, the power consumption is low, and it can be used with a more affordable computer. Therefore, for medical, sports, fitness and other application scenarios that do not require texture, it has become a cost-effective solution for body scanning.


  Artec Leo is the first fully portable handheld 3D scanner in the Artec 3D family of products, equipped with onboard processing functions. It has been built into a powerful multifunctional solution that can capture large areas as well as small details, and is suitable for scanning a range of objects, including small mechanical parts, human bodies, vehicles, and even entire crime scenes.

Artec Leo

   Unlike other handheld scanners, Leo is equipped with a touch screen, built-in battery, powerful processor and onboard Wi-Fi. These functions make 3D body scanning as convenient and easy as taking videos with a smartphone, and it is not prone to errors. You can preview the scanning effect on the screen to see which parts need to be collected, or whether you need to adjust the distance to the scanned object. Everything is under control, the operator does not need to connect to the computer to preview, so the entire scanning process will be faster and more comfortable.

  Leo has made ultra-realistic high-definition 3D models for famous multiplayer online military FPS games, customized tailor-made streamlined cycling uniforms, customized prosthetics, etc. for cyclists.

  Shapify Booth

   If you need to scan more than 500 people every day for scientific research or other large-scale projects, you may want to check out Shapify Booth.

Shapify Booth

  What is Shapify Booth? This is an automatic 3D full-body scanning kiosk, equipped with four wide-angle, high-resolution 3D scanners, lighting system, and automatic processing software. The scanner is installed on both sides of the wall and can rotate around one or more models standing in the center of the pavilion to capture from all angles. The entire scan takes about 12 seconds, and you can preview it after 5 minutes (if someone blinks or moves, you need to rescan), and then send it to the cloud for processing, which takes about 10-15 minutes. A full-color physical model can be obtained, which can be 3D printed to collect body measurements, or uploaded to 3D software for modeling or modification.

   This is the complete manual for body scanning!

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