Today I am going to show you how simple it is to get detailed images of 3 dimensional objects using a scanner. Below is a gif animation with the 3 basic steps. Then you can keep scrolling down for more details.
I have used several scanners over the years, but my favorite is the Epson B11B189011 Perfection V500 Photo Scanner. I originally got this machine to scan my papercuts plus anything flat such as illustrations, photos, etc., but then (and after a bit of experimentation) I discovered that it could also be used successfully with 3-D objects.
Now, I will explain how you can scan 3-D objects using this machine. The first step is to open the scanner as shown in the picture above, and leave it open like that ↑
The second step is to carefully place the 3 dimensional object with the side that you want to capture facing down. Before you do this, make sure that the glass is really clean.
The third step is to cover the object with a box. This box doesn’t come with the scanner. I built it using black foam board. See it below in more detail:
The most important thing about this box is to make sure that it covers all the area around the glass. The blue tape is just for decoration. Once the box covers the object, you’re ready to hit scan. I always do it at 300 dpi to make sure that I get lots of detail. But this scanner allows you to scan at a higher resolution if you need an even larger file.
Here is the result ↑ I must say that the original image tends to come out dark. You will need to do some basic editing to brighten it up a bit as I did here. The detail is amazing. My original background was white, I placed a sheet of white paper inside the box. But white always comes out blue. See the box with the white background below:
I like the blue color that comes out from the white background, so that is not a problem. But I also love black, see the image below. I have tried other colors as well but my favorite are white (blue) and black. See how beautiful black looks. Black gives you lots of depth.
Here are some more details about this scanner provided by Epson: “The Epson Perfection V500 Photo offers extraordinary quality and versatility with 6400 dpi resolution and a LED light source for greater productivity — all at an amazing value [it is true, the price is very good fo what you get]. Remove dust and scratches from slides, negatives and film. Or, restore faded color photos with one touch. Then, take your photos further with the included Adobe® Photoshop® Elements. When it’s time to archive important documents, you can scan multiple documents fast with the optional automatic document feeder. It’s all at your fingertips with this powerful performer. Best of all, the energy-efficient LED means you can work smarter with faster scans and lower power consumption. Plus, with no warmup time, it’s easier than ever to get started.”
This is the scanner that I always recommend to my fellow artists and crafters. It is a wonderful tool to get quality images of your work. If mine ever breaks (fingers crossed! it has been very healthy for a few years) I would buy the same kind again 🙂
Click on the picture below to see this scanner on Amazon ↓
PS: If you already have a scanner, then all you need to get images of 3-D objects is to build a box that fits your machine. You can also experiment with a box that is already built. Before I built mine, I used to cover the objects to be scanned with a piece of black velvet. That is also a way to go. But that method won’t give you as much depth as the box. Long live the box! 🙂
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UPDATE: Below in the comments area, Kerin Rose asked if this method would work well with shiny jewelry. I got some of the shiniest brooches that I found in my collection and ran a test. As you can see some areas came out overexposed. I believe that this can be prevented by playing around with the scanner settings or it could be corrected/improved using Photoshop.