Geo Week News

April 6, 2022

Epic Games launches photogrammetry app: RealityScan

The new app, currently in limited beta release, aims to unify and accelerate workflows for scanning and creating 3D assets with consumer devices.

In March of 2021, Epic Games announced their plans for integrating popular reality capture software Capturing Reality into Unreal Engine. Just a little more than a year later - the acquisition has yielded a new announcement: a new 3D scanning app for creators.

The app - named RealityScan (a callback to Capturing Reality’s program, RealityCapture) - is currently in a limited beta, but is positioned to facilitate the use of smartphones to create high-fidelity 3D models. Developed with both Capturing Reality and Quixel, creator of an app called Megascans, the new app brings together technology advances to enhance the photogrammetry process for creators.

The software within RealityCapture constructs objects and scenes “of any size” from images or laser scans, yielding high-quality meshes with speeds that are touted to be faster than existing software currently on the market, though specific performance stats on its capabilities were not provided in the press materials accompanying the launch.

The workflow for RealityScan is straightforward enough: users scan with on-screen AR guidance and quality checks happening through the process. RealityScan then takes the scan and creates a realistic model (again, a process only described as “lightning fast”), and then provides a seamless upload pathway to Sketchfab - the 3D model platform that Epic also scooped up last year. 

By uniting what used to be separate apps and programs that could be combined to create photogrammetry workflows (Unreal Engine, Capturing Reality, Quixel and Sketchfab), RealityScan is being positioned as a end-to-end creation tool that brings them all together. According to Michal Jancosek, co-founder of Capturing Reality, this brings them a step closer to their original goal of democratizing and broadening access to 3D scanning technology. 

"RealityScan is the first step on our journey to make 3D scanning available to all creators. We believe that this tool will greatly help people of all skill sets to better understand basic scanning principles, bridging the gap between beginners and professionals. We’re excited to develop the app with feedback from the community and to introduce new features as we approach the full release." 

The app has been launched in a limited beta for 10,000 users on iOS devices (via TestFlight), which is already full to capacity at time of writing. A wider “early access release” is planned for iOS devices this spring, with Android devices able to join “later this year.”

Aimed at creators and AR/XR developers, RealityScan’s main function is to provide a streamlined pathway for assets to be digitized in a way that looks as realistic as possible. Without specs or more people getting a hands-on look, it might be difficult to assess the impact of this reality capture app for professional use, but if it is fast, intuitive and based on consumer devices, it might be helpful for quick captures of assets in the field - and if it is as accurate visually, might be a low-cost alternative for historic preservation or archaeological applications, for a start. 

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