3D Scanning Services - Discussion

(Bart) #1

Thanks for helping me test this! Please leave your questions and feedback here.

First question: how accurately should we place those pins on the map? I don't want to make my home location public knowledge - once someone contacts me for a scan I can share that info.

(Gerpho) #2

Hi Bart

Now that's interesting. I was sort of tempted by your previous job page offer, but it's more for creators than scanners, and I just didn't have the energy to do so.

At first glance here are my reactions :

  • to be honnest, I hope that it's a professionnal sort of proposal : I never work for free (well almost never), based on the saying that "what costs nothing is worth nothing". Which obviously isn't true, but I'd like people start thinking like that. If you want serious people (customers) to use this page, you need a serious offer. And working for free isn't serious unless somebody else is paying for the time you spend working for free. (such as yourself for

[ BTW, nothing to do with your msg, but I wonder every now and then : all these people making 3D scans for cultural heritage do they do it for free ? if they get paid, on what basis, by whom ? those are questions that are never asked, it might be worthwhile to set a "private"(?) forum page to share experiences between professionnal scanners ? just an idea]

  • location... well I've quite often had problems with location based maps, since I can scan anywhere in (western) europe, and probably further away if required : for an aerial scan anyway you must have a plane, so that getting there isn't a problem. I'd suggest a pin the size of a country... yeah I know, it 's not reasonnable :smiley:
  • template is a very good idea : making a sort of "resume" as for the previous "job" page is tedious, and probably not fair.
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "invite only" but I think I agree :smiley:
  • of course, today Sketchfab is my main promotion channel, and I won't stop promoting your site, it's great. I must mention though that I've been asking Alban and others for months a "LOD compatible" stekchfab, but nothing has happened in this direction yet. As you know, my models are somewhat large. As you may know too, Acute3D is issuing a new Webgl compatible version, so that I will probably link a "lo-poly" version on sletchfab to "high-poly" version on my (future) website. in some cases, the sketchfab version will be a "teaser" since it can only give a flavour of the thing but not the whole thing. An example is here : complete factory- you'll recognize this splendid factory we talked about some time ago, but it's complete here and hi-res.

Philippe Graindorge / Gerpho

(Bart) #3

Not commercial-only, people can offer free services as well. But I suspect the majority will be free. As an example of a free service, Sketchfab may list themselves to offer free head scans with a structure sensor.

That's a great question for the Cultural Heritage forum - you should post it!

Hmm, good point. I'm not sure a huge pin would solve that though :smile: I imagine clients would search for a specific service type, like aerial photography, right? Maybe I can add categories to the map, or add a list of services by type to the page?

Well, I want to keep the quality high. So instead of having everyone dump their services on the forum, I'd like to check applications and see if people are serious before adding them.

I did see that example, but I'm not sure what the status is. I think at this time we're focusing on finishing animation - I'll ping him :smile:

(Mschroyer) #4

Continuing the discussion from 3D Scanning Services - Discussion:

I would be fine with just a pin that is centered in my gernal metropolitan area - no need to get too specific. I already do some level of travel, expect to do more travel for this work in the future, and I don't think there is much scanning/modeling expertise in a 300km radius (yet).

I hope this provides some insight of where I'm coming from and gives a sense of the market, but more and more I am finding use for 3D scanning and modeling as part of my full-time job in education technology. Any paid work beyond my daily full-time job is a bonus, so I could afford to be picky about the assignment and the fee structure. But to be honest, I have yet to charge for any scanning, modelling, or mapping services. I have taken aerial photographs and footage from colleagues and contacts and turned those into final products, but still this was free service for them. Part of this is because I am building up my portfolio, testing before investing in equipment and software, and refining my workflow before I go searching for clients.

I would not be surprised if many people in the Cultural Heritage forum either are doing this to compliment their full-time employment in a related field or also are testing the waters. In general I agree with the sentiment that this work has value and deserves compensation as such, and I hope this forum or group can help bridge the gap into more paid work.

(Bart) #5

Would you guys say it's better not to list free services as that could be unfair competition to paid ones?

(Mschroyer) #6

Competition ultimately is going to be dictated by market forces, namely on how easy and cheap the equipment and photogrammetry software becomes. But it might very well be a good idea to have a forum where it is absolutely clear that professionals can be found at market rates. It might also be a good idea to create a parallel forum where it is clear that everything is offered on a volunteer basis, for humanitarian/cultural/no-for-profit work where there is no financial gain. Hopefully forum participants would self-police so those in the volunteer forum would not be taken advantage of (e.g. work offers for "exposure" would be prohibited).

(Abby Crawford) #7

I think that putting a pin at city level would work. As @gerpho and @mschroyer have pointed out, travel is a big part of scanning - particularly for cultural heritage projects. Maybe along with "ability to travel" there could be a spot to indicate the extent to which someone is willing to travel (county, state/territory, country, continent, worldwide, or maybe a distance radius). As long as a customer covers travel costs, I have no problem travelling wherever.

I agree 100%. It makes services more easily comparable, as you said in your email, Bart. The Google Form idea seems good, as it will ensure that everybody is providing similar sorts of data.

(Gerpho) #8

I've created a page just after your's, Bart, even though the post title is "Netherland bust scanning". Well it's just to try it out. Please move it somwhere else if you prefer.

I tried following your template, and found several items were missing so I added them to the list.
Besides how can I add a pin to the map ?

(Bart) #9

Great, I've moved it to its own post and added it to the map (only I can add things to that map). What do you think of the format? Do you think it allows you to fully express what you need in order to get a client interested in your services?

(Gerpho) #10

Thanks, do you think you could change the title to "Gerpho 3D photography"
Regarding the format, I think i've included in my list everything needed for a quick description.
Except perhaps a link to a web site and a contact e-mail adress ? I know these are provided on each one's sketchfab page, but it might be worthwhile to repeat it here ?

(Nestor F. Marques) #11

Hi all,

I believe this is a great idea for everyone involved in 3D scanning and specially in my case: Cultural Heritage, where a lot of people wants to try new ways of documentation but not everyone has the resources or the expertise to make quality (which in this case is a mayor subject) scans.

You guys had this right, the city level pin is the most suitable option in this case. Also, traveling limits should be pointed out. For example, there are not so much people in Spain scanning for Cultural Heritage right now and the country level would be great for me, but I have no problem with worldwide range if the fees are covered.

I can only speak for my own experience. I know some people that are making scans just for fun or even to test their skills and improve. This kind of scan is fine for a visual level sometimes but it has nothing to do when it comes to accuracy. As an archaeologist I know that scientific accuracy is one of the most important points in Heritage scanning; for documentation, study, preservation, making replicas, etc:.

Personally I'm working for several museums in Spain making scans for their collections, developing new and less intrusive ways to make scans of fragile and challenging objects and making research on the applications 3D scanning can have for Cultural Heritage. I'm paid for scanning heritage, but some times I also do it for free if the piece is worth it and if a scientific project is involved (scientific research + business is the perfect mix for me)

And that's exactly what I was talking about. Quality level is crucial when it comes to scanning and not everyone can achieve that, simply cause they don't care or they are not focussed on that. But we should make a standard level of what should or shouldn't be permitted in terms of mesh accuracy, texture quality and level of retouching (best if this last one is close to zero if we are willing to use it for scientific purposes)

Now that you mention it, this is such a great feature and I sincerely hope that Sketchfab is moving in that direction next, when you finish animation (which is also great). I'm making now some huge models (churches, bridges...) of which I hope I can tell you soon, but I'm currently working on downscaling them cause I fear it will be too much for some peoples computers... adding LOD features would be insanely great for us making big and/or high detail scans.

Then again I think this will be great for making contacts between us and people who wants something scanned, whether it is a paid or free work. And here maybe I would also add a freemium category in which collaboration in scientific research programs would be.

(Bart) #12

Sure, go ahead and make the changes. Adding your website and contact info sounds good.

(Bart) #13

This might be hard to enforce really - both because it would mean I had to know enough about all the different types of scanning to accurately assess their quality, and it might add an amount of work that I cannot handle :smile: I think a more realistic approach for now is to ask people about how they run their business and look at their work here on Sketchfab. People with a Kinect scanner will not pass that test :smile:

@abbyec Ah, what I had in mind was to use a Google form for a quick intake only, and then provide a 'template' that people can fill out and post. I don't think I want to manage all those posts myself :smile:

@mschroyer That might be a good approach. It might be best to start with the professionals though, I feel that it's most relevant/valuable for them, right?

(Bart) #14

I have restructured the profile template a bit (you'll find it when you post a new message in this forum category). The changes are:

  • New 'About this service' section
  • New 'Service-specific information' section that is free form (but in the same format as the rest of the document, please)
  • Added

About this service

[Add general information about your service here]

  • References/former clients: [optional, but highly recommended]
  • Website:
  • How to contact:

Service description

  • Specialisation: [what kind of 3d scanning do you offer?]
  • Equipment/software: [what kind of equipment do you use]
  • Location: [where are you based?]
  • Ability to travel: [where can you travel / what is your range]
  • Resolution:
  • Guaranteed accuracy:
  • Max / min scannable sizes:
  • Textures:
  • Deliverable file formats:
  • Additional services: [like retouching, preparing for 3D printing etc]
  • Costs:

Service-specific information

[Add details that are specific to the type of service to provide here. This section is free-form, but please use the same format as above and keep it compact. Here's an example for aerial photography:]

  • Aerial vector: Plane or helicopter
  • Georeferenced: yes
  • Viewing software provided: Sketchfab - Acute3D free downloadable viewer - Acute3D plug-in free webgl viewer
  • Measurement tool: position, distance, height, surface, volume : included with free viewer


Embed three examples of your work. To embed a Sketchfab model on the forum, just put the model link on an empty line:




(Gerpho) #15

@NestorMarques I fully agree with everything said here ; including the question of downscaling, which is presently a pain in the.... (sorry my English is poor I don't remember the correct expression :smiley: )

However, the one thing I'm not sure I fully agree with is the question of what is or not permitted. Accuracy is of great importance for "scientific" applications, but there are certainly fields where lower price for reduced specs could do the job. Hence the importance of properly and clearly specifying the performance level obtained.

(R0m1 R) #16

Hey there,
I would like to thank you for this idea !
I didn't get the time to go trough all the comments, I've just read in diagonal to get the main purpose.

First, I would like to point this website made by Jean Charles: http://www.scanvalley.com/
This this the same thing as what you want to do !

Second, I'm not a forum user, I'm Facebook/ twitter generation and don't go in forum anymore, I want to see all the informations on one page and I don't want to dig in forum/sub-categories/etc...

So my idea would be to add a button next to the viewer :

This button could be activated like the download/private button. this would mean hire me for this kind of stuff.

This combine with a specific tag "job" like the "staffpick" could help people find what they need and then quickly contact us.

Hope I havent been too quick in my answer and you understand my point.

(Bart) #17

Hi @R0m1R,

yep, we're in touch with JC (he used to be an intern for Sketchfab :wink:.

Your idea is valid and something we may do in the long term. It would also require substantial development time though, so we've decided to start with a 'lean' implementation on the forum instead. Hope that makes sense!

I'm not sure I understand, sorry. Could you elaborate?

(Gerpho) #18

@bartv I was refering to @NestorMarques' comment on the "standard quality level" :

My feeling is that there may be different "acceptable" quality levels depending on applications, hence a standard quality level is had to define, even though what I have in mind in terms of quality is probably close to what he describes.

(Bart) #19

Got it, thanks :smile: I guess it's up to everyone individually to prove their quality. The Sketchfab embeds should help, and you can dive deeper into your service offering on your own website, right?

(Sofia Pap) #20

So, I completed the profile too and it's time for some feedback!

  • to begin with, its a great idea! I liked it a lot, liked the resume where we all comlete the same template, loved putting us on the map. Sketchfab has helped a lot with promoting our work and we are rebuilding our site with Sketchfab models all over it.

  • as far as the free-services go, I dont think they will pose any serious kind of competition. I mean who would buy/rent all the right equipment and software, learn to use it correctly, then probably go on trips to get the pictures and spend maybe days processing them to create models and orthomaps for free? It sounds crazy to me...

Scanning a head or a tree or some other small object is sth that nowadays everyone with a camera can do but cultural heritage or large landscapes...that's a different story. Some guys do it for fun, but what about accuracy, resolution or the permission from the cultural heritage department to fly over the area? Only a professional can give you those. So free-services is fine by me

  • the hire button under every model, I'm not very fond of. Im not using forums much either but maybe the button should be in our sketchfab profile, for those who already liked our work and wanted to see more.