3D Scanning vs Modeling: Competitive or Complementary?

Regardless of whether you are in the market for  sculpting, modeling, or 3D scanning, the decision often boils down to a matter of  cost plus time.  At TNG Visual Effects, our research and experience in the 3D scanning industry has revealed that ‘the time it took an artist to model’ versus ‘the cost of scanning’ was almost equal in nearly all scenarios. When you compare modeling to scanning, scanning usually takes about half the time to complete that modeling does making it the most time and cost efficient route to choose.


Why is 3D scanning so much better than modeling? The scanning process allows the ability and flexibility to scan in bulk.  Even people can be quickly scanned in a single session which keep your workflow moving smoothly. Like any project, it is always advisable to plan a 3D scanning sessions as early, as possible. The best time is generally in pre-production, or once the required talent, props, or other items to be scanned become available. When you plan from previs to post production, you will get the most from your models.

it is important to keep in mind that there are very few artists with the ability to replicate a person quickly while still delivering incredible detail. If you have these types of artists in your network, you should regard them as valuable assets because you won’t run across them everyday.  Companies will generally take their modelers and cross them over to other aspects of the project to get them most of them as is possible. The advantage of this practice is that it provides the artists with valuable experience which increase their skills in other areas of the post-production process. The sculpting then comes in handy to quickly enhance the model for finishing.

Whether you choose modeling or 3D scanning, you need to think of scanning, modeling, and sculpting as complementary disciplines. These various methods aren’t competing with each other. Ask your 3D scanning company how they can save you valuable time and money on your next project.