Viewing 3D Models

3D Navigation

When you have finished scanning, Artec Studio displays the results in the 3D View window.

Moving, Rotating and Scaling

You can control the observer’s perspective in the 3D View window by moving or rotating the observation point, or by zooming in or out. Use the mouse to control these effects:

move the mouse pointer over the 3D View window. Hold down the left (LMB) and right (RMB) mouse buttons simultaneously, then move the mouse to relocate the model. You can also use the middle mouse button to perform the same operation.
move the mouse pointer over the 3D View window. While holding down LMB, move the mouse to rotate the model.
Zoom in and out
hold RMB and move the mouse. Moving left or up will zoom out, whereas moving right or down will zoom in. You can also use the mouse wheel to produce the same effect.

You can also use 3D mouse to navigate 3D content (see 3D Mouse).

Setting Rotation Center


Figure 58 Rotation center.

When you rotate the model, the scene always turns around a certain point—the rotation center. Artec Studio will display three small coordinate axes at this point (see Figure 58). When you launch the application, the rotation center will coincide with the origin of the main axis grid. To change its location, double-click LMB at any point on the 3D model: the rotation center will move to this point. Setting the rotation center can be useful when you wish to view a particular object from all sides. In this case, set the rotation center on the object and rotate the view using LMB.

Choosing Projections


Figure 59 View menu options.

The View menu (see Figure 59) allows you to choose between perspective and orthogonal projections when displaying the model in the 3D View window.

Perspective projection is the central projection on a plane produced by direct rays that focus on one point: the projection center. This method produces a visual effect similar to human eyesight.

Orthogonal projection is when the projection center resides infinitely far from the plane of projection; in this case, the projection rays are perpendicular to the observation plane. This method preserves parallel lines and is more commonly used for measurement (see Measurement Tools for details).

You can also change projection type in other ways:

  • Hit Ctrl + 5 on the main keyboard
  • Hit 5 on the extended numeric keypad (numpad)


To quickly toggle a camera view between several predefined positions, use the View menu or the keyboard combinations listed in Table 4.

Table 4 Key combinations for switching viewpoints.
Viewpoint Keyboard Extended Numpad
Front Ctrl + Shift + 1 1
Back Ctrl + 1 Ctrl + 1
Left Ctrl + Shift + 3 3
Right Ctrl + 3 Ctrl + 3
Top Ctrl + Shift + 7 7
Bottom Ctrl + 7 Ctrl + 7

Displaying 3D Models

The toolbar at the top of the 3D View window features controls for data-display modes. All the commands for viewing and switching between modes are also available in the View menu (see Figure 59).

The 3d_home (Home) button (View menu option of the same name or H keystroke) restores the view to its original position.

The Fit to view command (the 3d_fit button, Fit to view menu option or F keystroke) automatically fits the object to the 3D View window.

To enable or disable the global coordinate-system axes, select the Show grid option in the View menu, click the tbr_show_grid_off_hover button in the 3D View panel, or press G.

Rendering and Shading Modes

The View menu allows you to choose one of the following 3D rendering options for scanned frames (see Figure 60):

Render solid
the most common way to render with a solid fill on all faces using your selected shading method
Render wireframe
display polygonal-mesh edges without applying a solid fill to the faces
Render points
display polygonal-mesh vertices
Render wireframe over solid
apply a solid fill to the faces and use a different color to display edges. This method enables you to visually assess the quality of the polygonal model (see Mesh Simplification for details).
Render points and solid
automatically display scans in point view, but display models in solid-fill view. This mode eliminates the need to switch to another mode in order to find the best rendering approach for each surface type. It is enabled by default for the Artec Spider scanner.

You can activate any rendering mode from the 3D View toolbar. Click the 3d_solid button to enable solid-fill mode, 3d_wire to display the wireframe model, 3d_points to display a point model, tbr_wsolid to display the wireframe over the solid fill and 3d_pointsnsolid to display the point or solid-fill model, depending on the selected surfaces.


Figure 60 Available rendering modes.

For some examples of the various model-rendering modes, see Figure 61.

Rendering point and wire over solid models

Figure 61 Examples of model using different rendering modes.

Point model on left and wire over solid on right.

Also, you can use the 3D View toolbar (Figure 62) to choose a shading method for the solid fill (Figure 63), or select one from the View menu:


Figure 62 Available shading modes.

Smooth shading (3d_smooth in the toolbar)
the color value for each point in a triangular face is calculated using color interpolation at the vertices
Flat shading (3d_flat in the toolbar)
all the points on a triangular face are assigned the same color
Smooth and flat shading

Figure 63 Smooth versus flat shading (respectively).

Lighting, Color and Texture

The Lighting on option in the View menu, 3d_light button in the toolbar or L hot key toggles the lighting in the 3D View window. This option may be useful when you must turn the lighting off to see only the outline of the model or to assess texture quality.

The Texture option in the View menu selects the method for assigning colors to the captured frames. Artec Studio offers the following methods:

  • Texture—displays textured data; otherwise, the software uses the scan’s default color
  • Scan color—displays the default color of the scan
  • Surface color—displays each frame in a scan using a different color
  • Max error—colors the frames in accordance with their registration quality; red indicates a registration error

You can choose among the above-listed options for assigning colors by clicking the corresponding button in the toolbar: 3d_texture, tbr_show_scan, tbr_show_surf or tbr_show_reg, respectively (see Figure 64). Examples illustrating the different color-assignment options are shown in Figure 65.


Figure 64 Methods of assigning colors to frames.

Assigning colors to frames

Figure 65 Different color modes for scanned frames.

Individual color for each surface (Surface color mode) on left, highlighting registration errors (Max error mode) on right.

Back-Face Rendering

Artec Studio offers three methods for rendering a frame’s back face:

assigns the back face the same color as the model
the back face is not displayed
renders the back face in black

You can choose the mode from the View menu, or click the 3d_backface_show, 3d_backface_cull or 3d_backface_black button, respectively, in the 3D View window (see Figure 66). Black is the default mode.


Figure 66 Back-face rendering options.

See Figure 67 for examples that illustrate the different methods of back-face rendering.

Back-face rendering

Figure 67 Examples of different methods for back-face rendering.

Show back-face mode on the left, hide (Cull) in the middle and Black on the right.

Representation of Normals and Boundaries

The Show normals option in the View menu enables or disables rendering of normals for each vertex. By default, the normals point away from the model surface and toward the 3D scanner. You can change this direction using the Invert normals command. You can also switch between modes for displaying normals by hitting the N key with the 3D View window active.

When working with edges, the Show boundary feature in the View menu allows you to enable and disable highlighting of the model’s edges. To toggle this feature, hit the B key with the 3D View window active.

Rendering and Texturing Untextured Polygons

Textured models may have some untextured areas (for instance, the green area in the middle of Figure 68). The Render polygons without texture option in the View menu allows you to toggle rendering of such areas.

Image grid showing rendering polygons without texture

Figure 68 Texture rendering for Render polygons without texture and Wrap texture coordinates options enabled or disabled.

Polygons without texture not rendered (left), rendered (middle and right) and Wrap texture coordinates turned on (right).

If the texture of the imported model is smaller than the model itself, Artec Studio can wrap it to fill the untextured areas (see Figure 68 (on right); for details on importing models, consult Importing Models and Scans). The wrapping effect is similar to floor tiling or a repeating wallpaper pattern—that is, the texture repeats periodically. To activate this option, enable the Wrap texture coordinates option in the View menu.


To display untextured polygons, you must activate the Render polygons without texture option as described above; otherwise the wrapping texture will not appear (see Figure 68 on left).

Displaying Boundaries of Texture Atlas

Textures applied to 3D models are obviously two-dimensional. You may, however, want to see the boundaries of each texture patch on the actual 3D surface. Artec Studio can display a texture-atlas file, such as the the middle image in Figure 123, with its boundaries highlighted (see Figure 69). Identifying the way in which the boundaries lie on the surface may, for example, help you determine whether you must simplify the model to get better texture application.

To enable boundary display, access the View menu and select Show texture boundaries. To disable this feature, make sure this menu command is unchecked.


Figure 69 3D model with texture-atlas boundaries.

Technically, this command also works for textures produced by triangle methods, but it provides no usable information.

Saving Screenshots

You can capture surfaces displayed in the 3D View window and save them in a graphics file. Unlike the conventional system Print Screen command, this option saves only the contents of the 3D View window (see Figure 71) and ignores any background. It also captures the following objects with the surfaces:

  • Coordinate axes
  • Points, lines and planes
  • Annotations
  • Surface-distance maps and their histograms (see Measurement Tools)
  • Measurement results (points, lines and labels)

Figure 70 Example screenshot featuring section


Figure 71 Example screenshot featuring sirface-distance map with annotations


Figure 72 Example screenshot featuring linear measurement

To capture a screenshot, follow this procedure:

  1. Select the Save screenshot... option in the View menu, or hit Shift+Ctrl+S.
  2. In the dialog, specify the destination folder and file name, then click the Save button. Artec Studio will save the file in PNG format.


If you save a screenshot using an existing file name, Artec Studio will overwrite that file without warning. Be sure to specify a unique file name to avoid overwriting other files.