METIS Photometric Stereo 3D


Nowadays, in most applications (e.g. for industrial decor applications, but also for fine art reproduction), it is very important not only to capture color or a visual 3D appearance, but also to be able to calculate 3D data.

Many different technologies are currently available for the real 3D scanning of objects but only a few can be effectively used for the 3D scanning of embossed surfaces (e.g. wood, stones, wallpapers, paintings, etc.). This is because 3D surface scanning for industrial or decorative applications requires very high-resolution levels and also large formats that cannot be achieved using commercial 3D scanning technologies.

In fact, up to now, before our innovative solution described below, optimal 3D results could only be obtained using dedicated real 3D scanners based on a Laser or confocal sensor and, therefore, by scanning the originals one point after the other (the full scan may require hours or even days); but apart from the scanning time there are anyway limitations with those kinds of 3D scanners as they usually cannot acquire color information too (only 3D), have limited depth of field and may have also problem on scanning glossy materials.

Since 2014, the top METIS technique to calculate 3D from 2D color data!

Read more about the exclusive METIS Photometric Stereo 3D digitizing technique in this article of Marcus Timson,  The Industrial Print Blog

METIS 3D is based on a completely different technology called Photometric Stereo which allows to calculate 3D data directly from 2D color data!

The theory behind Photometric Stereo have been presented for the first time in the 1980, but limited practical use was possible at this time because the provided mathematical model was not adequate for dealing with real-life situation. And in fact, still today Photometric Stereo have limited practical applications because of the very complicated math and because it poses strict design constrain that are very difficult to achieve (i.e. it requires a specific and extremely accurate control over the emitted light rays within the entire scanner optical path).

After a long development at METIS, we have been capable of solving those issues through our patented lighting system (the DC SynchroLight) and by writing our own algorithms that implement the Photometric Stereo theoretical model into something that actually works and produce real and consistent results.

Thanks to its unique characteristics, METIS 3D provides many advantages over existing 3D laser/confocal scanners such as:

  • Color and 3D information are available almost at the same time and match at pixel level;
  • Scanning time and 3D calculation require only a few minutes instead of hours;
  • Very large depth of field;
  • Can calculate 3D data also from very glossy originals;
  • and all of this is also available when scanning very large originals.

Read more about the exclusive METIS Photometric Stereo 3D digitizing technique in this article of Marcus Timson, The Industrial Print Blog